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2017 The Braves are coming

Staff/Kelly J. Huff

Marietta Mayor Steve Tumlin — conferring with administrative assistant Betsy Kelley — says the development of the Franklin Road corridor will spur the city’s future business success.

‘Open for business’

With a momentous windup at the end of 2013 that concluded with the team closing on a 57-acre parcel of land near Cumberland Mall in January, Cobb finally landed the Braves. On the cover, perhaps conjuring up the first game in 2017, are from left: Braves President John Schuerholz, Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee and Braves Vice President Mike Plant. Cobb will join in building the Braves a $672 million stadium to begin play in 2017.

High hopes ride on Franklin Road development

See Pages 4AA-6AA

By Steve Tumlin, Marietta mayor

Marietta is enjoying local economic improvements and growth that have evolved over the last few years with even more optimism for the near future. Our city of 57,000 and 28 square miles has witnessed an economy stimulated by development, recruitment and retention of businesses and a positive infrastructure. The keynote of Marietta’s support of revitalization and economic growth was the 2013 passage of the $68 million redevelopment general obligation bonds which focused on the Interstate 75 and Highway 41 corridors between Delk Road and the South Loop. With the willingness of Marietta citizens to invest in the city, a strong signal was sent to developers and businesses that Marietta is “open for business.”

City profile Marietta City Hall 205 Lawrence St., Marietta, 30060 770-794-5506 Daniel Flynn, Police Chief (770) 794-5333 Jackie Gibbs, Fire Chief (770) 794-5451 City Council meets the second Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall, 205 Lawrence St., Marietta. Mayor Steve Tumlin (770) 794-5501

City Council Stuart Fleming Ward 1 (770) 794-5526 Griffin Chalfant Ward 2 (770) 351-7035 Johnny Walker Ward 3 (770) 794-5526 Johnny.walker@mariettaga. gov G. A. (Andy) Morris Ward 4 (770) 527-2785 Anthony Coleman Ward 5 (770) 794-5526 Michelle Cooper Kelly Ward 6 (770) 794-5526 Philip Goldstein Ward 7 (770) 428-5322

The origin of the name Marietta is uncertain. It is believed that the city was named for Mary Cobb, the wife of U.S. Senator and superior court Judge Thomas Willis Cobb. This would be apt, as Judge Cobb is the namesake of the county

Already, we have made strategic purchases for ideal commercial sites and the economic development teams from EDGE with the Chamber to the governor’s office are introducing this area for strong economic growth. With the Atlanta Braves moving just two exits south on I-75, the timing and potential of this area will exceed even our earlier expectations for economic growth. In our desire to have a balanced community, we have begun to recover in the residential market. Once stagnate subdivisions have been built out and Marietta has over 469 residential housing units in various stages of permitting which will add $150 million in value to our city. Attracting and bringing young families to our city is a major plus with this residential growth. In addition to the redevelopment bond, the citizens have authorized investments in our parks of over $25 million to which we have one of the best park systems in the state. Additionally, the citizens allowed the Marietta City Schools to build a stateof-the-art Performing Arts Center which encourages the arts and allows our young students to participate. With the 2011 special purpose local option sales tax, we are reinvesting another $44 million in our infrastructure and gateway entrances to the city. In November of this year, another SPLOST with projected revenues of $56 million for Marietta will further enhance our city above our normal expenditures. A number of our corporate citizens have chosen to expand within Marietta. I’m proud to relay that WellStar, the finest medical facility in north Georgia, MiMedx, Amendia, Talenti Gelato, Coca-Cola, Lockheed and Dow Chemical are just a few examples of our corporate, job producing, growth and retention. Proudly, our residents enjoy a good mix of unique retail and restaurants in our city as our small businesses are a major part of our city. To enhance a quality community that will grow and not become stagnate, we offer the best in education. Our 8,500-plus student city school system, Chattahoochee Tech, Southern Polytechnic State University and Kennesaw State University and Life University represent the best in education where one can attend kindergarten through becoming a doctoral candidate without leaving the city. With our SPLOST, parks bonds, redevelopment bonds, and government grants, we are becoming a “Walkable City” with sidewalks being extended throughout the city, the mountain/river trail from Kennesaw Mountain through the Marietta Square and then to SPSU where we join with the county and the trail then extends to the river. The trail will include a bridge over the South Loop to Brown Park with the bridge being a great entrance into the city. In addition, a bike/walking trail is being built from the city cemetery to County Services Road. The city of Marietta embraces and supports our history, heritage, and the arts. The Strand Theatre, the Marietta Museum of History, the Cobb Marietta Museum of Art, the Gone with the Wind Museum, the Performing Arts Center at Marietta High School, the Old Zion Baptist Church Heritage Museum, Brumby Hall, the Root House, the Lyric Theatre and other

production companies provide the heart of our community. Not only do the museums and art venues provide for our heritage, but they have transformed Marietta into a must- see tourist stop. In June 2014, through just past July 4, look for an anticipated surge of visitors estimated to be 200,000 for the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain. The city of Marietta has partnered with heritage groups and the Kennesaw Mountain National Park to honor the significance of the June 1963 battles as Sherman “marched to the sea.” There will be re-enactments and conventions of many groups to honor this significant part of our history, which was on our soil. The event will be inclusive, noting the many different aspects, people and entities that were part of our heritage. The city of Marietta has readied itself for the future with its planning for economic development, educational opportunities, parks and walking trails, and arts support and enhancement. Financially, the city has solidified itself with the SPLOSTs, parks bonds, redevelopment bonds, school bonds in addition to running a balanced budget while having one of the lowest millage rates in the metropolitan area. The city has been forward thinking in studying the Highway 41 corridor and improvements with SPSU and Life, the Green Tech Corridor on Franklin Road and securing opportunity and military zones from the state, as well as federal grants to facilitate many activities that add to the quality of life in Marietta. With the infusion of capital from the bonds and SPLOST, the support of the community, and the excellent reputation enjoyed by Marietta, Marietta is ready to revitalize our city, provide excellent educational opportunities for its citizens, provide jobs, offer excellent health care and promote livable communities.

Cover photos by Kelly Huff/staff Design by Emily Boorstein/staff








City profile


‘Desirability’ Mayor touts residential, commercial growth — with more to come

David Lee, police chief (770) 434-9481

By Max Bacon, Smyrna mayor

It’s been a time of growth for the city of Smyrna. Over the last two years, more than 700 previously approved residential lots have been permitted and have either been completed or are in the process of being developed. Smyrna is home to 51,990 residents. From 2000 to 2012, the total number of housing units in Smyrna increased by 29 percent, growing from 19,633 units to 25,273 units. About 70 percent of Smyrna’s housing is valued at $150,000 or higher. The median house value in Smyrna is $209,000. This represents an increase of 72 percent since 2000. By comparison, the median house value in the metro Atlanta region is $168,100, up 27 percent since 2000. Both the number of building permits and permit values have improved over the last five years. Permits for residential remodels peaked during the recession as more people opted to invest in their existing homes rather than relocate. As the economy has improved, the remodels have leveled out and new residential construction has picked up. The number of commercial permits has increased only modestly, though project values have grown with the improving economy. The city of Smyrna hired two key department heads within the last year. Fire Chief Paige Day began working for the city of Smyrna on Jan. 6, 2014. Day has worked in fire service since 1999 with a career that has included work as a paramedic, front line officer, community services director, station chief and assistant chief

over operations and training. She has served in Tucson, Ariz., and spent the last two years of her career as the assistant fire chief in Missouri City, Texas, a suburban community bordering Houston. Mary Wallace Moore began as the library director for the city on Feb. 25, 2013. She has more than 15 years of experience in library management. Prior to working in Smyrna, Wallace was the references and adult services manager with the Madison/ Huntsville County Public Library. Under her direction, the Smyrna Public Library has initiated many new projects such as “First Sunday Lectures,” which feature local authors, and Hoopla Digital, which offers streaming movies and TV shows. The library is the first in Georgia to offer this service. In 2013, the city of Smyrna installed three displays containing Civil War artifacts collected by Gerald Cox, who passed away in 1996. Cox was an avid Civil War collector and his estate trustee, Doug Armstrong, worked to donate his collection to the city. The Cox/Armstrong display serves as a cornerstone for ongoing future donations. Each Civil War display is located on the second floor of Brawner Hall, City Hall and the Smyrna Public Library. The city of Smyrna will start construction on its new Recycling Center in spring 2014,

Smyrna City Hall 2800 King St., Smyrna, 30080 (770) 434-6600

The development — residential and commercial — that occurred in 2012 and 2013, plus the proposed development that will occur in the city over the next three to five year period, speaks to the general improvement of the economy and to the desirability of the Smyrna area. with projected completion by summer 2014. The Recycling Center will be located on a new 1-acre site at 3475 Lake Drive and will include offices to accommodate both the Recycling Center staff and Keep Smyrna Beautiful staff. The proposed design will greatly improve the current facade, and advantages of the new center will include quickness with ease of access and safety with a larger lot than the current facility, and it will still be centrally located for the convenience of citizens. The city of Smyrna will kick off another year of one of its most popular events, “Smyrna Food Truck Tuesday” in May 2014. The city-managed event is planned to take place for 21 weeks from May through September. The community event includes 12 mobile food vendors each week and live entertainment and takes place at TaylorBrawner Park.

Mayor Max Bacon

Paige Day, fire chief (770) 434-6667 Mayor Max Bacon (770) 434-6600 Mayor Pro-Tem Melleny Pritchett Ward 1 (770) 319-5306

City Council Andrea Blustein Ward 2 (770) 319-5307 Teri Anulewicz Ward 3 (770) 319-5308 Charles Welch Ward 4 (770) 319-5309 Susan Wilkinson Ward 5 (770) 3195310 swilkinson@ smyrnaga. gov Wade Lnenicka Ward 6 (770) 3195311 wlnenicka@ Ron Fennel Ward 7 (770) 319-5312

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Tracking the move State Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder S i ) arranges a meeting at the Marietta Country Springs) Club between county Board of Commissioners Chairman Tim Lee and Mike Plant, Braves executive vice president of business operations.

July 2013

Cobb: Home of the Braves

AAtlanta Braves President John Schuerholz announces his plan to make Cobb County home of the Braves by 2017.

Nov. 11

TThe Cumberland Community Improvement District votes to commit $10 million toward transportation improvements for a proposed $672 million Cobb County Atlanta Braves stadium. The CID board also votes in favor of a resolution endorsing the creation of a new tax district which would bring an annual $5.1 million.

Nov. 19

A group of Cobb County business owners launches an ad campaign encouraging residents to lobby the Board of Commissioners to vote yes on the Braves deal.

Nov. 18

Nov. 25

TThe Cobb-Marietta Coliseum and Exhibit Hall Authority approves a memorandum of understanding with the county and the Atlanta Braves for the financing of the proposed $672 million stadium. The Board of Commissioners votes 4-1 with Commissioner Lisa Cupid opposed to approve the memorandum of understanding that would finance the construction of a $672 million, 41,500-seat stadium. “This is a most significant and historic day for our franchise,” Schuerholz said.

Nov. 26

The Braves close on the purchase a 57-acre parcel ffrom Bethesda, Md.-based B.F. Saul Co. for about $34 million. The franchise plans to close on another 25-acre property with the same company by early May.

Jan. 24, 2014

Braves confirm they are in negotiations with Kansas City, Mo.-based Populous as the firm that will design its proposed $672 million stadium.

Jan. 28

Lee reports the Braves have narrowed the list of developers down to two finalists for a $400 million mixed-use project to be built next to the planned stadium. Those finalists are Cumberlandbased Pope & Land and a team composed of Cincinnati-based North American Properties, Houston-based Hines Interests and Los Angelesbased AEG.

Feb. 18

Staff/Kelly J. Huff

John Loud, left, and Shane Garrison cheer loudly as the Cobb Board of Commissioners approves funding the new Braves stadium by a 4-1 vote Nov. 26. Braves officials closed on a 57-acre parcel of land near Cumberland Mall in January and will begin play in Cobb in 2017.




‘Big event that sets us apart’ Chairman Lee: Landing team ‘leapfrogs (Cobb) ahead of everybody else’ By Jon Gillooly

CUMBERLAND — There are a stack of agreements the county and Atlanta Braves must hammer out this year in time for the 2017 opening of a 41,500-seat Major League Baseball stadium and accompanying $400 million mixed-use development. County Chairman Tim Lee acknowledged how much needs to be done in such a short time frame, but said he is up to the challenge. “We’ve got a good team, on our side, on the Braves side, the people that are participating, contractors and all that, we’re going to select the best, they’re going to select the best, it’s going to be huge to get it done, but we’re going to get it done, on time and under budget,” Lee said. In January, the Braves purchased a 57-acre parcel from Bethesda, Md.-based B.F. Saul Co. for about $34 million. It plans to close on

another 25-acre property with the same company by early May. Over the next month or so, Lee said the Braves are expected to nail down a specific footprint for the stadium as well as its design. “Once that’s done we can start working on the intergovernmental agreement with the (CobbMarietta Coliseum & Exhibit Hall Authority) and then we can start working on the long forms with the Braves,” Lee said. “I think between now and the next six months we’ll be pulling all that together. We can’t nail down a specific timeline because they haven’t gotten the design of the stadium done or the final location finished yet. They’ve also got zoning to do.” The Braves are in negotiations with Kansas City, Mo.-based Populous as the firm that will design the stadium. Populous is a global architectural firm that has designed such work as

Staff/Kelly J. Huff

Cheering the vote by the Cobb Board of Commissioners this past Nov. 26 to fund the new Braves stadium are, from left, Atlanta Braves Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing Derek Schiller, Cobb Chamber CEO David Connell, Braves President John Schuerholz, Braves Chairman and CEO Terry McGuirk, Cobb Chairman Tim Lee and Braves Executive Vice President of Business Operations Mike Plant. Below: The proposed new $672 million stadium. Yankee Stadium. One of the contracts to be signed is the stadium operating agreement, which

Lee says outlines how the building of the stadium will take place, detailing purchase processes, deadlines and performance criteria. Another contract is the intergovernmental agreement between commissioners and the Exhibit Hall Authority, the agency that will issue the bonds to finance the project. There is a development agreement for the planned $400 million mixed-use development the Braves plan to build on 45 acres surrounding the stadium. And there is a transportation agreement.

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Cobb goes ahead with shuttle plans for stadium By Jon Gillooly

MARIETTA — The county is moving forward with creating a shuttle service to help with traffic in preparation for the new Atlanta Braves stadium expected to open in 2017. The shuttle, which would operate within the 5.5-squaremile Cumberland Community Improvement District, is projected to cost $900,000 to assemble and about $850,000 per year to operate, said Faye DiMassimo, the county’s transportation director. The county has issued a request for proposals to hire a consulting firm to design the system. County Chairman Tim Lee hopes to hire the firm in April — with it providing the plan nine to 12 months later — well before the stadium opens. “The circulator is what we are going to provide as part of the transportation solution for the stadium,” Lee said. While it’s unclear whether the vehicle will be a trolley, bus or tram, it will use rubber wheels. “So let’s say you work in one of the office towers and you want to go to the mall to have lunch,” Lee said. “You can just get on the circulator and that will take you and drop you off in front of the food court and pick you up when you get done.” Lee said the county will pay for the shuttle service by using some of the revenues collected by charging hotels and motels in the Cumberland CID a fee of $3 a room per night. The $3 fee is expected to generate $2.7 million annually. DiMassimo said the consultant will determine if a fare is charged and what that ticket price would be. The $900,000 estimate for capital costs would go to purchase vehicles and whatever bus stations are recommended. The closest system in the region is the Buc — Buckhead Uptown Connection — a shuttle service that provides connections between office buildings, transit stops and shopping destinations, DiMassimo said. There is no fare to ride the Buc, according to its website. It’s paid for by the Buckhead Community Improvement District and with federal tax dollars. The Cobb service would be operated by Cobb Community Transit, which already runs 18 bus routes. CCT has a fiscal 2014 budget of $18 million. Of that sum, 33 percent is paid by passenger fares. The rest comes from federal grants and the county’s general fund.

Public hearing conducted for new tax districts Commissioners also held the first public hearing on a code change that would allow for the nightly $3 Cumberland hotel room fee, as well as the creation of a new tax district that would roughly follow the boundaries of the Cumberland CID. That new district would tax commercial property owners and apartment complex owners an additional 3 mills, bringing in $5.2 million a year to help pay for the stadium. The county has agreed to pay $300 million of the $672 million cost of the stadium as well as up to $35 million in maintenance expenses. A third code change that received a hearing is a proposal to enact a county-wide 3 percent rental car tax expected to collect $400,000 annually. Retired lawyer Gary Pelphrey of east Cobb was one of the speakers to address commissioners. Pelphrey is a member of the Citizens for Governmental Transparency, a coalition of groups ranging from conservative Michael Opitz of the Madison Forum to progressive Rich Pellegrino of the Cobb Immigrant Alliance. Pelphrey described himself as a Braves fan who opposed what he believes is the county’s lack of transparency over the Braves project. Pelphrey said Gov. Deal had declared a state of emergency because of a winter storm hitting north Georgia. Larry Savage of east Cobb also spoke, raising questions about the legality of the tax districts. “You are interpreting it in a way that says that you can go out and selectively identify any geography in the county, any group of people or property owners, and you can assess a tax on them that is completely unlimited, there’s no limit, you can go to however much you want,” Savage said.

Skipper on move: ‘Excited’ Gonzalez says ‘it will be a great deal to open the stadium’ By John Bednarowski

AUSTELL — Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez can keep a secret. Two days before officials made the announcement the Braves would be moving to Cobb County in 2017, Gonzalez knew. He also may have been the first person to see the Cumberland area property where the new stadium will be built after the announcement. “When it was announced, I was two blocks from the site,” he said during a stop at Clarkdale Elementary School as part of the Braves’ preseason caravan tour. “I drove by it every day going to (Turner Field), and I never knew that piece of property existed.” Gonzalez, who led the Braves to a 96-66 record and the National League East title in 2013, is a longtime east Cobb resident, and he said he’s looking forward to cutting his commute time in half. At least, he’s tentatively looking forward to it. “In my line of work, three years is a long time,” he joked, “but I was excited (about the announced move). It will be a great deal to open the stadium.” The Braves skipper was joined at

the school by three former AllStars — first baseman Freddie Freeman, right fielder Jason Heyward and left fielder Justin Upton — bench coach Carlos Tosca, Hall of Fame pitcher and Braves radio announcer Don Sutton and Homer, the team’s mascot. Freeman said he was given no hint of the pending move and found out about it when the news broke Nov. 11. He said he was surprised the team would leave Turner Field. “The team has only been there 17 years,” he said. “But, being a young player, I don’t have a lot of ties to Turner Field. It will be a little difficult to leave it behind, but we’re only going 17 minutes up the road.” Heyward, another Cobb resident who also played for the East Cobb Baseball organization, wasn’t privy to the news either. But after having to miss much of the final six weeks of the 2013 season with a broken jaw, he isn’t really concerned about how long of a drive he has to the park — or a move three years from now. Heyward’s just ready for the

Braves Manager Fredi Gonzalez new season to start. “It may be weird moving out of Turner Field, but I’m not worried about that or my commute. I just want a place to play ball.”

Braves ‘paying our taxes’ Land deal locked up; ‘Absolute perfect site,’ says Schuerholz property with county Chairman Tim Lee. CUMBERLAND — Atlanta “I think Braves executive Mike Plant it’s the announced in late January the absolute organization completed the purchase perfect of a 57-acre parcel in Cobb County site,” on which the franchise will build Schuerholz its new $672 million stadium. said. “I “It was probably 3 o’clock mean, we that I was notified that our money could have transferred into their accounts from looked the escrow accounts,” Plant said. forever and “We’re not turning back. ever and not “We start paying our found a site any taxes at 3 o’clock (Jan. better than we 24).” found, and very The Braves agreed fortunate for to pay Bethesda, and our based B.F. Saul Co. fans that about $34 million for site was the 57.1-acre site. The ‘I mean, we could have looked this available, franchise will close on and it’s another 25-acre property forever and ever and not found with the same company a site any better than we found, going to be developed by early May. and very fortunate for us and into the So that takes us to finest 82 (acres), and we don’t our fans that this site was stadium and need to do any activity or available.’ mixed-use work on those acres. Fortunately, the seller John Schuerholz, Braves president location in all of and us, we worked that Georgia.” out months ago to have a In addition to the $672 million different closing day for that,” he said. stadium of which the county has agreed Atlanta Braves president John to pay $300 million, the Braves are Schuerholz recently walked the By Jon Gillooly

Event From 5AA “We’re going to put in a people mover in the Cumberland CID area and it will be like a trolley. The actual vehicle has not been defined,” Lee said. “It’s like a trolley that goes around the area picking people up and dropping them off within the Cumberland area.” The trolley will be operated by Cobb Community Transit.

Goreham: a new economic engine Commissioner Helen Goreham has been a staunch supporter of the new Braves stadium ever since it was announced. When the Great Recession hit in late 2007, and the county’s revenue stream took a hit, Goreham said she wondered how the county would bring revenues back up. “Years ago before the recession it was construction, it was single-family home construction and commercial strip centers at a pace that was false,” Goreham said. “We all knew the bottom fell out, it was an inflated economy, and we hit bottom, and so going into the post-recession we’re not going to be able to rely on massive building of single-family homes or commercial sites, because let’s face it, we’re one, running out of open land, and two, the pace that we experienced prior to the recession was not a sustainable pace, so I was quite worried about what was the next great thing for Cobb County.” When she learned about the proposed stadium and accompanying

45-acre development, Goreham said she had her answer to Cobb’s next economic engine. The Atlanta media have highlighted how stadiums in other parts of the country have not turned out as successful as originally promised, but Goreham sees some key difference with this project. To begin with, the location is in the Cumberland Community Improvement District, an area nicknamed the “platinum triangle” for its economic success. “So it’s not as if we’re taking a stadium and placing it in an area of the county that is hurting from an economic standpoint, that is depressed,” Goreham said. “A lot of cities have done that. They have thought that if they put a stadium in an area that was depressed that it would bring up that area of the city, and I think that they’re finding that there are some challenges to that and that doesn’t always work. So we’re taking a stadium and putting it in already a thriving area of the county, so it should blossom, the economic development and the impact on the economy should really, really just play off of one another from the Cumberland CID area and from the stadium, so that’s one difference.” Another key difference is that the 45-acre development of shops, restaurants and stores the Braves plan to build is scheduled to open at the same time as the stadium. “I think it’s risky to go in with just a stadium and then rely on the uncertainty of the economy and what could possibly transpire, and what we’re doing here is putting together the whole package up front,” Goreham said.

building a $400 million mixed-use development around it made up of shops and restaurants. Next week, the Braves plan to announce who they have selected as the stadium designer and architect. Plant said his next step is to relocate two pipelines that run through the 57acre property. Colonial Pipeline has one line spanning from New England to Louisiana that runs through the middle of the property. Atlanta Gas has another. It will take several months to relocate them to the edge of the property. While the pipelines run under Interstate 285 and can be paved over with roads or sidewalks, vertical construction is prohibitive because the lines need to be accessible, Plant said. “I think it just continues to confirm and solidify that we’re excited in coming to be certainly a significant contributor and economic driver and job creator and certainly hopefully, quality of life, inspirational opportunity by bringing the Atlanta Braves to Cobb County. We’re coming,” Plant said. Lee called the closing a significant milestone since it allows the Braves to move forward with applying for a land disturbance permit. “For those people that weren’t sure if it really was going through the fact that they bought that acreage should be a pretty strong indicator that this is actually happening and moving forward,” Lee said.

Maintenance costs capped The memorandum of understanding commissioners approved in November also says while the 15-acre stadium footprint will be owned by the Exhibit Hall Authority and thus taken off the tax rolls, the 45-acre entertainment district is not eligible for tax breaks, Goreham said. “Another positive is that we have a limit to the maintenance responsibility of the stadium, it’s up to a certain dollar amount, so I believe there are some safeguards built in our scenario that is much different than a lot of other scenarios out there,” she said. The memorandum of understanding caps the capital maintenance the county will have to pay for the new stadium at $35 million over the 30-year life of the agreement. Any expenses beyond that $35 million fall to the Braves to pay for, Lee said. With nearly $1 billion being spent on the development, the project is a game changer for Cobb County, Lee said. “It leapfrogs us ahead of everybody else,” Lee said. “It positions us to be more successful in other projects. It’s a game changer, the one big event that sets us apart and gets us ready for success that you don’t get with a bunch of little projects, so you always look for that one big thing that sets you apart.” Lee predicts increased revenues from travel and tourism and rising property values. “When they get done with the mixed-use environment, that’s going to be a destination spot for folks to come to not just for baseball but 24-7, 365 days a year,” he said.



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A big thumbs up for revitalization Voters OK initiative to revamp a corridor of Marietta perceived as blighted, crime-ridden By Nikki Wiley /


n initiative to revitalize a corridor perceived by many as crime-ridden and blighted got the thumbs-up from Marietta voters in 2013 and is now underway. On Nov. 5, 54 percent of voters told Marietta City Council they supported increasing their city property taxes to fund a $68 million redevelopment project on Franklin Road. About 46 percent voted against.

Issuing the bonds to ďŹ nance the project will increase property taxes by up to 2 mills for up to 20 years. That means the owner of a $200,000 home will see a tax increase of $160 per year and the owner of a $400,000 home would see a $320

annual increase. City Council called special meetings and presented public hearings at City Hall and other places in the community to discuss the dilapidated area that Mayor Steve Tumlin and school board ofďŹ cials said was suffering from high vacancy rates and a transient population. Council members wasted no time in getting the redevelopment underway, putting two apartment complexes under contract a little more than a month after voters gave the go ahead. The city now owns 50 contiguous acres on Franklin Road adjacent to Interstate 75. On Dec. 17, the city closed on the 386-unit, 25.2-acre

See Thumbs-up, 10AA Staff/Kelly J. Huff

Marietta Mayor Steve Tumlin and Economic Development Director Beth Sessoms face a lot of work in renovating the Franklin Road corridor to hopefully attract major business to the city.




City profile

‘Oh my gosh!’

Acworth City Hall 4415 Senator Russell Ave., Acworth, 30101. (770) 974-3112 Wayne Dennard, Police Chief (770) 974-1232 The Board of Aldermen meets at 7 p.m. the first and third Thursday of every month in city hall in the council chambers. Tommy Allegood Mayor (770) 974-3112 Gene Pugliese Alderman (678) 801-4004 Bob Weatherford Alderman (770) 974-3553 Albert (Butch) Price Alderman (770) 974-4321 Tim Richardson Alderman (770) 974-5259 Tim Houston Alderman (770) 917-1883 The town received its current name in 1843 from Western & Atlantic Railroad engineer Joseph L. Gregg, who named it for his hometown of Acworth, New Hampshire, which was named for English Admiral Sir Jacob Acworth.

Expansion of major highway has residents incredulous By Hannah Morgan /

Within the next five years, construction will begin on a $32 million road improvement project in Acworth, expanding Highway 92 into four lanes between Highway 41 and Cherokee Street. Acworth Mayor Tommy Allegood More than 200 county residents and members of the Acworth Business Association, who sponsored the event, gathered at NorthStar Baptist Church to hear Allegood’s address. “Oh my gosh,” gasped Nicolle Williams, a resident of Acworth, when she heard Allegood’s description of the new road widening project. “It’s incredible. That’s the way my husband gets to work every day, it takes him 25 minutes to go like three miles. It’s going to be a huge improvement,” she said. Residents were relieved to hear a solution to the heavy traffic along that portion of the Highway 92 corridor was on its way. The next two years will be spent acquiring nearby land along the roughly 3-mile strip of road, which Allegood said is all privately owned. Construction should begin in 2018, and be completed by 2020, said Acworth’s City Manager Brian Bulthuis. City workers have been planning the project for a decade. The strip of road is now only two lanes, one lane going in each direction. In 2020, Acworth residents will be driving in a road four lanes wide, crossing over a brand new bridge that will divide Lake Allatoona and Lake Acworth, Allegood said. Georgia Department of Transportation Chief Engineer

announced the road improvement project alongside state Rep. Ed Setzler (R- Acworth) and Cobb Transportation Director Faye DiMassimo at the end of his State of the City Address in February.

Russell McMurry has already done the land surveying. Allegood said the only thing to worry about now was the money. “I’m really excited to see this happen,” said Setzler. He promised the road project was a priority for him at the statehouse, and he would fight to make it a reality. The project is expected to cost $32 million, all coming from state and federal funds, Allegood said. Details of how the funding will flow from Washington, D.C. or Atlanta’s State House have yet to be worked out, Bulthuis said. City officials said they were hoping none of the project would be paid for with city tax dollars. “We will solve the most significant traffic problem in Cobb,” Allegood proudly announced, to applause. Retired Acworth Municipal Court Judge Jim Payne is relieved a solution to the road’s traffic is on its way. “As a judge, I had to see and deal with a lot of the problems, collisions and traffic incidents,” from the road, Payne said. He and his wife recently moved to Marietta, but Payne is thrilled for Acworth residents. “It’s going to be a great solution to a massive problem,” he said.


Acworth is built on trust, partnerships Two new retirement communities will open in Acworth in the coming year, Allegood said, in order to accommodate the area’s rapidly aging population. By 2020, one in every five Acworth residents will be 65 or older, Allegood predicted, holding a crystal ball. The mayor named more than five religious communities, a dozen or so local businesses and at least four schools in Acworth who have partnered with each other and the city to put on a number of philanthropic events. In the last decade, more than 1.5 million people have visited Acworth for annual events held by the city and the Acworth Business Association. Construction will begin on a number of SPLOST projects throughout the city, including adding 12 acres of walking trails, an amphitheater to Logan Farm Park and quieting the railroad cars as they blow through town. The city’s police force will be using a new police station, Allegood added, and the Georgia Symphony is scheduled to perform at the Acworth Cultural Arts Center.

Mayor Tommy Allegood The first children’s health careonly center will open in Acworth this August, Allegood said, a project that involved Acworth Elementary School, Barber Middle School, the United Way, WellStar, Cobb Schools Foundation and Northside Psychiatric Services. “If it were not for our many partnerships, our community would be missing resources,” Allegood said. Coming in 2014, national food chains, including Huey Luey’s, a Mexican food restaurant, and Jimmy John’s, a sandwich company are both expected to open this year. One hundred new businesses opened in 2013, and more are scheduled to open in 2014, including national outdoor retail chain Cabela’s, which will bring at least 300 jobs and 1,000 daily visitors to the city. The city is growing, Allegood said, and moving into 2014 still has 91 commercial sites available for outside companies to buy.

City profile


Room to grow

Kennesaw City Hall 2529 J.O. Stephenson Ave. Kennesaw, 30144 (770) 424-8274

City annexes 53 acres for new commercial development By Rachel Gray /

Mayor Mark Mathews in his 2014 State of the City address told a crowd of more than 200 people the city will emerge from the stifled economy by annexing 53 acres of county property at the intersection of Cobb Parkway and Barrett Parkway. The site is southeast of the city in unincorporated Cobb County. The Atlanta-based Fuqua Development, which is under contract to purchase the land, is working with the property owners and going through the application process to annex the parcels into the Kennesaw city limits, Mathews said.

Mayor Mark Mathews

Thumbs-up From 9AA Woodlands Park complex, which was put under contract for $7.9 million in late September. Later that week, the city also closed on the 348-unit, 24.3-acre Flagstone Village Apartments, at 849 Franklin Road, bought from Atlanta-based TriTex Real Estate Advisors Inc. That property cost the city $12 million. Plans for both of those

Mathews said the Kennesaw City Council will vote on the annexation in the first quarter of 2014 and the plan would have to be reviewed by the Atlanta Region Commission, an unelected intergovernmental agency. From outside of Kennesaw, Mathews moved the focus of the 2014 State of the City to the center of the city, talking about revitalization on Main Street. For years the city has been laying the groundwork for redevelopment of downtown, but “this will be the year we make major progress in that direction,” Mathews said. The initiative began in 2008, as parcels of land owned by four different property owners were assembled into a 5-acre plot, which was bought by Kennesaw’s Urban Redevelopment Agency with a $2.8 million bond issuance. Mathews said the future mixed-use development is planned to include 250 apartments, more than 12,000 square feet of commercial space and an additional

apartment complexes to be razed and then marketed to developers by the city’s consultant, Chicagobased Jones Lang LaSalle. Council isn’t finished purchasing property as just $19.9 million of the $68 million bond issuance has been spent. Most of that money will be used on property acquisition and tearing down existing buildings. About $4 million is set aside for improvements to Whitlock Avenue in hopes of creating a more attractive city gateway. Originally presented as a $35

William Westenberger, Police Chief (770)-429-4535

Mathews said the plan is to close the Castle Lake Mobile Home Park, which has tenants, and build a 400,000-square-foot retail space anchored by a Whole Foods grocery store, a big-box sportinggoods store, restaurants and specialty shops. 300 public parking spaces. Construction will take 15 to 18 months, and the new space should be open by the end of summer 2015. The developer is Atlanta-based South City Partners, which is the same company used to develop the West 22 student housing community at Cherokee Street and McCollum Parkway near Kennesaw State University. At the luncheon, Mathews highlighted West 22 as a former “neglected” trailer park that was “targeted by the city for redevelopment.”

‘Let’s Build It’ theme The economic development of Kennesaw will become even more stable as the city collects more in tax revenue as new businesses move into the area and property values rise, Mathews said. The address was meant to highlight “the work (the city of Kennesaw) has done to stay ahead of the curve,” Mathews said. “Some projects have been a long time coming.” Acworth Mayor Tommy Allegood said he always comes to Kennesaw’s State of the City because Mathews is a good friend and the city of Kennesaw, which

million deal, the project nearly doubled in July to $68 million. Most council members were on board, though Councilmen Philip Goldstein and Anthony Coleman voted against increasing the cost. Goldstein said he wanted to keep the bond issuance at the $35 million mark because that amount had a better chance of being approved by voters. Coleman said the redevelopment project was already a gamble by the city, and increasing the amount of debt

neighbors Acworth, is a good partner. Allegood said he knew positive economic news would be a part of the state of Kennesaw, because most cities in Cobb are feeling a recovery with “an overall renewed confidence in investing in new business.” Three years ago, Winston Agebebiyi joined the Kennesaw Business Association, which played host to the state of the city event, and this is his first year on the KBA’s board. Agebebiyi is a certified public accountant who opened his own firm, Meridian Consulting, in Kennesaw more than three years ago after moving to Cobb from Michigan in 2006. Agebebiyi said he wanted to hear about initiatives that would partner residents with the city, including how to prepare the community for an evergrowing college on the Kennesaw boarder. Mathews also highlighted Kennesaw State University for celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2013 and announcing the addition of a football program. Agebebiyi said “with Kennesaw State University busting at the seams,” it is a great time to focus on downtown, and possibly add more options for entertainment.

only raised the risk. Tumlin argued the larger amount of money gave the redevelopment project a better chance to succeed. “The first thing we have to do is load our economic gun,” Tumlin said. Former Councilman Jim King said his “bullish support” during the entire process of proposing the redevelopment bond was based on advice given to the council that it was a good location and a good time to act. King did not run for re-election

Mayor Mark Mathews (770) 424-8274 mmathews@kennesaw-ga. gov

City Council Cris Eaton-Welsh Post 1 (678) 266-0885 Tom Killingsworth Post 2 (678) 873-7146 Leonard Church Post 3 (404) 441-4985 Debra Williams Post 4 (404) 849-0948 Jim Sebastian Post 5 (404) 849-0948 jsebastian@kennesaw-ga. gov

and vacated his seat in January. He said there are “underproducing properties up and down Franklin Road” and it was time to “push the precious real estate to produce at the tax base (the area) ought to be at.” Councilman Grif Chalfant said existing apartments on Franklin Road house a large amount of people in a single location, meaning city services and the Marietta City school system must meet a high demand without a large enough contribution in taxes.





City profile

‘Excited by ’13, inspired by ’14’ By Pat Vaughn / mayor of Powder Springs Nestled in the southwest corner of Cobb County, in the town I proudly proclaim as “Small enough to know you … large enough to serve you,” Powder Springs is poised to have another banner year of growth and opportunity in 2014. Powder Springs was incorporated in 1838, and in 2013 the city celebrated its 175th birthday. Powder Springs Day was a daylong celebration in September, culminating with a concert and fireworks in the Town Square featuring the world-famous Little River Band. A 175th birthday gala was in October with local, state and national dignitaries in attendance. I was humbled and honored in 2013 as the City Council voted to name the city’s new community theater as the Patricia C. Vaughn Cultural Arts Center, which offers a table seating capacity of 160 and an auditorium seating capacity of 240. Located within the “Coach” George E. Ford Center complex on Atlanta Street in downtown Powder Springs, the 6,000-plus square-foot facility began hosting events in December 2013. For years, I had envisioned a cultural arts center that would offer the community dramatic performances, concerts, comedy shows, dance recitals, town hall meetings, community gatherings and other cultural offerings. The city desires to better communicate with its residents and has begun mailing a quarterly newsletter in each resident’s utility bill. In 2014, the city will join social media with a Facebook page. Plans are being formulated to institute an emergency warning system that will contact residents in the case of a natural or manmade disaster, as well as to inform them about such items as water outages and sanitation pickup schedule changes.

A better economy, a growing town The Silver Comet Trail, which runs through the heart of Powder Springs, opened in 1998. Since that

Serving in my 11th year as mayor and 20th year as an elected official in Powder Springs, I am excited about all that took place in 2013 and am inspired by all that is in store for Powder Springs in 2014.

Powder Springs City Hall 4484 Marietta St., Powder Springs, 30127 (770) 943-1666 www.cityofpowdersprings. org Charlie Sewell, police chief (770) 943-1616 Mayor Pat Vaughn (770) 943-1666 ext. 309 mayor@cityofpowdersprings. org

City Council Cheryl Sarvis Ward 1 (770) 222-7700 Al Thurman Ward 2 (770) 943-1969 Nancy Hudson Ward 3 (706) 656-4227 Rosalyn Neal At-Large Post 1 (678) 410-3544

Staff/Jeff Stanton

Powder Springs Mayor Pat Vaughn stands on the doorsteps of Magnolia House. The town celebrated its 175th anniversary in September and the house played a role in that celebration. There was a parade, arts, crafts, food and headline entertainment by the Little River Band. time the city, as a part of an overall Community Enhancement Master Plan, has dreamed of constructing Linear Park along a stretch of the trail adjacent to Richard D. Sailors Parkway, between Powder Springs Road and Old Lost Mountain Road. Construction began in early 2014 of the first phase of the Linear Park that, when completed, will offer recreational opportunities and a destination point for Powder Springs’ residents, as well as visitors along the Silver Comet Trail. The first phase will feature a playground for children, a boulder park for young and old to climb, a restroom, a concession area and pavilion, all connected with sidewalks.

Powder Springs recently hired Stephanie Aylworth as the city’s economic development director. She will recruit new businesses, try to retain the ones we already have and work on marketing and branding of the historic commercial district while also aiding in tourism development, creating a sense of place for city residents and working with the city’s two development authorities. Building permits and new business openings saw a dramatic increase in Powder Springs in 2013. Touting itself as “the country’s premier indoor shooting facility,” the 19,000-square-foot

Governor’s Gun Club, on Highway 278 in Powder Springs, opened in 2013. Residential permits for new home starts in subdivisions like Springbrooke and The Vineyards at New Macland help to shape an improving economic forecast for Powder Springs. In 2014, construction will begin on Garden Gate, a 29-home gated residential community located near the central business district of Powder Springs. Designed and constructed by Fallwood Builders, Garden Gate will offer “living made simple” with “floor plans with a purpose.”

Chris Wizner At-Large Post 2 (770) 943-1666 ext. 320 The town of Powder Springs was incorporated as Springville in 1838 in the lands of two Cherokee Indian chiefs, Chief Nose and Chief Ana Kanasta (Sweetwater). Gold had been discovered in Georgia years earlier, and the first area settlers came to find gold. The settlers found little gold in the mines at Lost Mountain and off Brownsville Road. The name Springville was changed to Powder Springs in 1859. The name was derived from the seven springs in the city limits.

AUSTELL the friendly city, is growing with Cobb. Joe Jerkins, Mayor Council Members: Kirsten Anderson, Trudie Causey, Virginia Reagan, Martin Standard, Scott Thomas, Suzanne Thomason • 770-944-4300 2716 Broad Street, Austell, Georgia 30106




County Population

K N O W C O B B 2 0 1 4





1920 1930


1940 1950

35,408 38,272 61,830

1960 1970

114,174 196,793







2005 2008

City Population Acworth









2011 (Est.)

2010 — 4.5% Asian

— 4% Asian

13,422 21% Black




— 1% Other

25% Black

— 8% Other

5,359 74% White



62% White

21,675 30,196





58,748 57,357

Powder Springs

12,481 14,133 40,999


9% Hispanic

11% Hispanic

91% Non-Hispanic

89% Non-Hispanic


Median Age

Median Household Income

2000: 33.2 2004: 33.4

2000: 2004:

2010: 35.4


Source: Census Bureau, Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget

$58,289 $59,871 $65,522

Commute Average one-way commute to work (2010):




City profile Austell City Hall 2716 Broad Street Austell, 30106 Bob Starrett, police chief (770) 944-4331 Timothy Williams, fire chief (770) 944-4333 Mayor Joe Jerkins (770) 944-4328

City Council Kirsten Anderson Ward 1 (678) 447-2506 Scott Thomas Ward 2 (770) 739-6681 Randy Green Ward 3 (678) 300-5322 Virginia Reagan Ward 4 (770) 948-7303 Ollie Clemons Jr. At-Large Post 1 (404) 964-2268 Suzanne Thomason At-Large Post 2

The town of Austell is named for General Alfred Austell (1814–1881), founder of the Atlanta National Bank (later Wachovia), in recognition of his efforts to bring major railways to the South. Austell is buried in an elaborate Gothic Revival-style mausoleum at the highest point in Atlanta’s Oakland Cemetery.




A work in progress City works to improve infrastructure, community projects and strives to deliver high-quality service to residents By Rachel Gray /

Austell is steering a steady course to improve its infrastructure, moving ahead with community projects and delivering a high level of quality services to residents. Five years after receiving almost $2 million in federal government “Livable Centers” grants delivered through the Atlanta Regional Commission, Austell’s downtown remains a work in progress. The first phase of streetscape improvement that stretched along Veterans Memorial Highway from Jefferson Street to Thornton Road was finished three years ago. The second phase focused on Broad Street and Mulberry Street. Broad Street was changed to one way with diagonal parking. Other improvements include a tree-lined median, brick sidewalk enhancements and black metal light posts meant to add a classic feel of a small Southern town. The project required $312,000 in matching funds from the city. “I think it went pretty smooth,” said Mayor Joe Jerkins, who spearheaded applying for the grant. “It has made the city look better. I don’t know if it has helped businesses.” In 2013, SPLOST funds in the amount of $170,536 also paid for sidewalks on Cemetery Street, John Street and Betty Street, according to Austell’s city clerk, Carolyn Duncan. Last year, Austell also completed the ninehole Frog Rock Disc Golf Course on Veterans Memorial Highway. Disc golf enthusiasts come from all over the South to play, and some of the visitors travel from

as far away as Michigan, Duncan said. Frog Rock has played host to several tournaments and avid players in Cobb enjoy the course on a regular basis. This year, a memorial park for all American veterans will be completed, Duncan said. Veterans Memorial Park will be dedicated March 20. The landscaped park has an 80-foot flagpole, memorial pavers, service branch flags displayed and benches for visitors’ comfort.

Striving to provide great service Although waters from the catastrophic flood that hit Austell in September 2009 receded long ago, the city is still working with residents whose homes were severely damaged or destroyed. In 2013, Austell acquired 16 more homes through a federal Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, with more than $2.3 million in funds, Duncan said. More homes will be purchased in 2014 as soon as the acquisitions process can be completed. One of Mayor Jerkins’ proudest achievements of the city is that Austell is fiscally sound. During the past 24

Helping you get from Point A to Point B

Promoting Accessibility and Mobility in the Town Center Area

years, city taxes have been lowered 11 times and raised only one time by less than 1 percent, Duncan said. This year, plans are in place to recommend lowering the millage again. Because the city of Austell has its own fire department, Cobb County credits Austell residents


Mayor Joe Jerkins says he is most proud of the fact that Austell is fiscally sound, noting that taxes have been lowered 11 times during the past 24 years. with 3 mills on their tax bill, Duncan said. Beyond service calls and tax bills, Austell also saw a great advancement in the medical field to help serve residents, both in the city and around the state. In September, Cobb County’s only inpatient burn unit received some special attention from Gov. Nathan Deal at a ribboncutting ceremony.

Deal’s visit to the WellStar Cobb Hospital, at 3950 Austell Road on the corner of the East-West Connector, celebrated the new eight-bed unit that will offer comprehensive and long-term burn treatment and wound care. Deal said a modern medical facility enhances the desirability for people wanting to live and work in Cobb.







District 6 Hunter Hill

District 37 Lindsey Tippins

(R-Smyrna) Age: 36 Occupation: President, Tommy Newberry Coaching Family: Wife, Shannan; two children Phone: (404) 563-2518 Email: First elected: 2012

(R-west Cobb) Age: 64 Occupation: Pipeline contractor Family: Wife, Ann; two children and six grandchildren Phone: (770) 424-2700 Email: lindsey.tippins@senate. Elected: 2010 Leadership: Education and Youth chairman

District 14 Bruce Thompson

Cobb’s State Senate Districts

(R-White) Represents north Cobb Age: 48 Occupation: Business owner Family: Wife, Becky; two children Phone: (404) 656-0065 Email: Brucethompsonforsenate@ First elected: 2013

District 32 Judson Hill

District 33 Steve Thompson

(R-east Cobb) Age: 53 Occupation: Attorney Family: Wife, Shelly; three children Phone: (404) 656-0150 Email: First elected: 2004 Leadership: Finance Committee chairman

(D-Marietta) Age: 63 Occupation: Businessman Family: Wife, Karen; one daughter, two stepsons and seven grandchildren Phone: (404) 656-0083 Email: steve.thompson@senate. First elected: 1980

District 38 Horacena Tate (D-Atlanta) Represents south Cobb Age: 57 Occupation: Businesswoman/ training Phone: (404) 463-8053 Email: horacena.tate@senate. First elected: 1998

COBB HOUSE PROFILES District 34 Charles Gregory

District 44 Don Parsons

(R-Kennesaw) Age: 35 Occupation: Software developer Family: Wife, Samantha; three children Phone: (678) 383-7002 Email: Charles.Gregory@House. First elected: 2012

(R-north central Cobb) Age: 66 Occupation: Telecommunications consultant Family: Wife, Jo Lynn; two children, six grandchildren Phone: (770) 977-4426 Email: First elected: 1994 Leadership: Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications chairman

District 35 Ed Setzler

Cobb’s State House Districts

(R-Acworth) Age: 43 Occupation: Architecture/ engineering Family: Wife, Tracie; four children Phone: (770) 420-0520 Email: First elected: 2004 Leadership: Science and Technology chairman

District 36 Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs) Occupation: Sports park developer Family: Two sons Phone: (770) 437-7536 Email: First elected: 1988 Leadership: Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee chairman

District 37 Sam Teasley (R-Marietta) Age: 37 Occupation: Realtor Family: Wife, Michelle; three children Phone: (404) 656-5146 Email: First elected: 2010

District 38 David Wilkerson (D-Austell) Age: 45 Occupation: CPA Family: wife, Penny, two children Phone: (404) 656-0116 Email: david.wilkerson@house. First elected: 2010

District 39 Alisha Thomas Morgan (D-Austell) Age: 35 Occupation: Nonprofit leadership development consultant, author Family: One daughter Phone: (404) 656-0169 Email: First elected: 2002

District 40 Rich Golick (R-Smyrna) Age: 47 Occupation: Attorney Family: Wife, Maria; two sons Phone: (404) 656-5943 Email: First elected: 1998 Leadership: Judiciary Non-Civil Committee chairman

District 41 Michael Smith (D-Marietta) Phone: (404) 656-0265 Sworn in: 2013

District 42 Stacey Evans (D-Smyrna) Age: 35 Occupation: Attorney Family: Husband, Andrew; one child Phone: (770) 710-4087 Email: First elected: 2010

District 45 Matt Dollar (R-east Cobb) Age: 36 Occupation: Commercial real estate broker Phone: (404) 463-7853 Email: First elected: 2002 Leadership: Interstate Cooperation chairman

District 46 John Carson (R-northeast Cobb) Occupation: CPA, commercial banker, SunTrust Family: Wife, Beverly; two children Email: Phone: (404) 656-0287 First elected: 2011

District 53 Sheila Jones (D-Atlanta) Represents south Cobb Age: 57 Occupation: State representative Family: single Phone: (404) 656-0126 Email: First elected: 2004

District 43 Sharon Cooper

District 61 Roger Bruce

(R-east Cobb) Occupation: Registered nurse Phone: (404) 656-5069 Email: First elected: 1996 Leadership: Health and Human Services chairwoman

(D-Atlanta) Represents south Cobb Occupation: Human Resources VP Family: Wife, Angela; three children Email: Phone: (404) 656-0314 Sworn in: 2003






Staff/Kelly J. Huff

Jean and Robert Payne of Marietta enjoyed the arrival of their great-great-grandson, Rhett Aaron Scott, who was born to their great granddaughter Rebecca Roberson, standing left, making a five generation get-together possible for the family. Roberson’s mother, Kim Harp, and her mother, Melinda Williams, join in for the five generation photo. very family has its stories. This one covers a lot chapters. The family of Jean and Robert Payne of Marietta recently celebrated five generations of family with the addition of their great-great-grandson, Rhett Aaron Scott. “This is the second time our family has had five generations,” Jean Payne said, explaining that the first time was when baby Rhett’s mother, Rebecca Roberson, was born. Five living generations in one family is rare. “It doesn’t happen very often. I don’t think it does. It doesn’t happen often twice in the same family. That’s kind of significant. I think its special,” she said. The generations span today from great-great-grandparents Jean and Robert to threemonth-old baby Rhett. Melinda Williams of Marietta is the baby’s great-grandmother. Melinda’s daughter Kim Harp of Villa Rica is the grandmother. Kim’s daughter Rebecca Roberson and Aaron Scott of Heard County are the baby’s parents. Rhett was born Oct. 30, 2013, and weighed 8 pounds, 1 ounce and measured 21.5 inches long. “I told Rebecca, ‘You know you’re making history here,’ but I don’t think it quite sunk in until later. Her baby is part of five generations on his daddy’s side as well,” said Jean, who moved to Marietta in 1970 from Ohio. For Jean, the addition of the baby is significant. “Family is very important to me and to us. Nowadays, a lot of peo-


Great great grandparents celebrate fifth generation of a great great grandchild — for the second time By Sally Litchfield / MDJ Features Editor /

ple don’t give family enough importance in terms of keeping up of family trees and how families are linked together,” Jean said. “Families need to stay connected to one another. You lose track of history if you don’t stay connected,” she explained. Although Jean has history from her father’s side of the family, at age 10, she lost the opportunity to gather her mother’s family history when her mother died. “We don’t have much history as far as that family goes,” Jean said. She did recall her maternal “Grandpa” Seymour. “We saw him a lot. He only lived about a half-mile from us. He walked to our house quite often. He lived with my mother’s brother,” she said. “Every Christmas (Grandpa Seymour) gave each of his grandchildren a new half dollar and oranges and fruit for Christmas. We looked forward to that every year,” she said. Jean, who grew up during the Depression, said, “We saved our money. My dad opened a savings account for each of us. We saved ours. It’s little things like that I

can remember that I think is important. All those things to me are important. Those kind of things are important for every family.” Jean’s grandfather passed away a month after her mother. “I want my kids to know how all this stuff came about and how we had to live,” said Jean, who came to Marietta with husband Robert, an Alabama native. When Robert completed his service in the Army, he left Alabama for Ohio. “Robert’s family were farmers. His dad wanted him to stay and farm and pick cotton, but he had had enough of that,” Jean said. Robert joined his sister who had already settled in Ohio. He found work in the construction business and the couple met in the Mansfield area of Ohio. When work ran out in Ohio, Robert traveled to Kennesaw, where his brother lived, on his way to Florida to find work in the winter of 1969. “Robert stayed down (in Florida) three weeks and knew he didn’t like it. That didn’t turn out to be too much,” Jean said. “Robert’s brother told him that there was plenty of work

in Cobb County. At that time, work was booming here,” she said. Robert came back to Kennesaw and easily found work. “The kids and I came and visited over Christmastime. I told him to find us a place to live and when summer comes and the kids get out of school, we can move. I was ready to get away from up there (in Ohio),” said Jean. In the summer of 1970, Jean and three of the couple’s four children Melinda (Williams), Rachel (Ramsey) and Stephan moved to Marietta to join Robert. “We haven’t been sorry of it,” said Jean, who worked for an insurance company for 26 years. The Paynes’ eldest daughter, Patty Orewiler, who was in college at the time of the move, remained in Ohio. The Paynes’ daughter, Melinda Williams, resides in Marietta and Rachel Ramsey resides in Powder Springs. Both daughters completed school at Marietta High School. Stephan Payne died 5 months after the family moved to Georgia at age 17. The move to Marietta was a good one for the Paynes. They have lived here for 27 years and have always lived within a mile radius of their current home since establishing themselves in Marietta. “I wouldn’t move back to Ohio for nothing. I like the area. I like the weather. We like the people. We like the neighborhood. We like that we can get out and shop within a close radius of where we are. We’ve just really liked it around here. It’s a good place to live,” Jean said.

I wouldn’t move back to Ohio for nothing. I like the area. I like the weather. We like the people. We like the neighborhood. We like that we can get out and shop within a close radius of where we are. We’ve just really liked it around here. It’s a good place to live.’ Jean Payne






— 5BB

— 3BB

Tim Lee: Citizen of the Year

He was the ace of Cobb’s staff in landing the Braves








Impact annually on Cobb and state

Acres of site at juction of I-75 and I-285

Number of jobs sustained annually

Number of guests hosted past 20 years

20 grand years for Galleria Centre

Helping secure Braves crowns CID’s 25th year

Convention center exceeds expectations

By Nikki Wiley

By Michael J. Pallerino

“... The city of ... Atlanta.” When then president of the International Olympic Committee Juan Antonio Samaranch made the announcement that the 1996 Olympic Summer Games were coming to Atlanta, the visions of economic development possibilities started to move their way in and around the metro area. One of the groups that took The Olympic announcement helped set the wheels in motion. That the authority built a convention center to complement its growing business environment is one thing, but to have it exceed expectations was an added bonus. “The original feasibility study indicated the Centre would not break even until year five,” said Michele Swann, GM and CEO of the Cobb-Marietta Coliseum & Exhibit Hall Authority. “In fact, we were profitable the very first year — and every year since.” Today, the Cobb Galleria Centre sits on 88 acres in the Galleria complex, which is adjacent to the Galleria Specialty Shops and connected to the four-star, fourdiamond Renaissance Waverly Hotel. Conventioneers can make their way to and from the Centre thanks to its pedestrian sky-bridge connecting it with Cumberland Mall and Sheraton Suites Galleria Hotel. In the 20 years since the doors opened on the Centre, there have been varying reasons why it continues to be a draw for local and national conventions and trade shows. “It is the right size for the many events we host,” said Swann, who has worked in public venue management for more than 30 years before joining the Centre in 1995. “They (the conventioneers) can be the big fish in our pond,” she said. “The other driving factor is our location. It can be a real asset, both in terms of accessibility to the interstate and walk-ability once you’re here. The extremely positive customer experience is what keeps our clients coming back year after year. More than 60 percent of our business is repeat business.” One of the key factors in the

particular notice was the CobbMarietta Coliseum & Exhibit Hall Authority, which, formed by the Georgia General Assembly in 1980, had essentially been inactive until the late 1980s. It was then that the authority conducted a feasibility study showing the economic viability for a convention center and a performing arts center in Cobb County.

continued success over the years has been the Centre’s relationship with the Cobb community. Swann credits the valued partnerships it shares with surrounding hotels, the Cobb Chamber of Commerce, Cobb Travel & Tourism, the Cumberland CID and the Galleria Office Park, to name some. “They all have been wonderful supporters of us, our clients and guests,” Swann said. “We have all worked together to make this area an ideal convention destination.” Those relationships can be seen in the Centre’s destination as a gathering place for varying fundraisers, community events and public shows such as the Cobb Chamber Annual Dinner, the National Model Railroad Association and the American Cancer Society’s Swordsman’s Ball, among others. All told, the Cobb Galleria Centre hosts more than 600 events annually. Some of its biggest clients include the Atlanta Shoe Market, Anime Weekend Atlanta, the Georgia Society of CPAs and the Atlanta Home Show. Over the past 20 years, the Centre has hosted 19,482 events and 9.7 million guests. That translates into $2.6 billion for Cobb County and the state of Georgia. For 2014, the Centre anticipates 6 percent revenue growth over 2013. “It’s all about the economic impact,” Swann said. “We are proud to be one of the major economic engines driving the hospitality community in Cobb. Each year the Cobb Galleria Centre is responsible for sustaining 1,070 jobs and generating $6 million in new tax dollars. Business is good and getting stronger. We are not quite back to the boom years that peaked in

2008, but overall the industry is rebounding.” Bring on the Braves The news hit like a cyclone: The Atlanta Braves would be leaving their home in downtown Atlanta and build a new stadium and adjoining retail development center in Cobb County. Having the new Braves stadium is another complement to the CobbMarietta Coliseum & Exhibit Hall Authority’s original vision. “It will help put our destination on the map,” Swann says. “This not only means that potential clients will know who we are, it also means they will be more likely to choose us because a Braves game will make a perfect off-site activity. The additional shopping, restaurants and hotels coming to the area will also make the area more vibrant and attractive to potential clients.” Holly Bass, CEO of Cobb Travel & Tourism, believes the new stadium and everything surrounding it is a real game changer for area’s travel and leisure industry, which already is the county’s largest economic driver, pulling in $2.2 billion annually and employing some 31,000 people. “The Atlanta Braves reach a fan base that spans across the entire Southeast,” Bass said. “This falls perfectly in line with our target market. Our goal is to work in partnership with the Braves to proactively market Cobb County as a preferred travel destination among planners of conventions, trade shows and special events, as well as leisure travelers. We will work to highlight the Braves and all of our assets throughout the county by packaging them together to showcase our dynamic community.”

CUMBERLAND — It was a busy 25th year of doing business for the state’s first community improvement district. The Cumberland Community Improvement District, a 5.5-squaremile area around the Interstate 75 and Interstate 285 interchange, celebrated its silver anniversary in 2013 by breaking ground on new transportation projects and landing the title as the future home of the Atlanta Braves. The district, governed by a board of area property owners, has promised $10 million to help fund the $672 million new Braves stadium expected to open by 2017. Revenues in the CID are generated through self-imposed commercial property taxes on its 175 commercial property owners. Those dollars are used to leverage more funding from state and federal governments. The district represents $4.1 billion in total real estate assets with almost $3 billion in commercial real estate. Supporters tout the district as making up 5 percent of the state’s economy and 33 percent of Cobb’s economy. There are 76,400 jobs in the greater Cumberland area, with 50,600 in the Cumberland CID. The area produces 164,800 total jobs around the state and $22.8 billion in output. And those numbers are likely to jump when the Braves make their first pitch at the Cumberland-area stadium in 2017. Infrastructure upgrades funded partially by the CID were instrumental in attracting the Braves, said Tad Leithead, chairman of the district’s board of directors, in early December at the groundbreaking of a roadwidening project. “People have said to me, ‘Are you doing transportation improvements because the Braves are coming?’” Leithead said. “I’ve said, ‘No. The Braves are coming because we’re doing transportation improvements.’” On Dec. 6, shovels ceremonially hit the ground on U.S. 41, getting a road expansion project underway. The project will widen U.S. 41 from Paces Mill Road to Akers Mill Road from four lanes to six lanes and is part of a $53 million project targeting U.S. 41 that has been in the works for 15 years. A 12-foot-wide multi-use trail will also connect Cumberland’s offices to the nearby national park land. A 25-mile system of trails weaving through the office towers of Cumberland is also touted as a CID accomplishment.

Cumberland CID FACTS  50,600 — the number of jobs in the Cumberland CID.  164,800 — total jobs around the state produced by the CID  $22.8 billion — total output of goods and services from the CID  $4.1 billion — Total real estate value in the CID




Cobb Chairman Lee lands Braves, top citizen award He quietly, effectively nurtured deal between county officials and team By Rachel Gray

MARIETTA — After shocking Cobb County with the announcement of the Braves’ impending move to Cobb County, it was Chairman Tim Lee’s turn to be surprised. At the Cobb Chamber of Commerce 72nd Annual Dinner, MDJ publisher Otis A. Brumby III honored Lee with the Citizen of the Year award. “There are certain news events in life, good and bad, that we remember where we were when we heard the news,” Brumby said, suggesting the move will be such an event in Cobb. The Braves announced their decision to move to Cobb on Nov. 11. The Cobb County Board of Commissioners voted 4-1 Nov. 26 to approve the move and give the team $300 million in public funding for a new $672 million stadium. Lee was the key player who worked quietly with county government officials and the Cobb Chamber of Commerce to ensure the Braves moving to Cobb was a solid deal. “Lee was criticized by some for keeping the public in the dark too long,”

Brumby said. But Brumby added it was needed to ensure the move, which will bring prestige, jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenue to Cobb. Brumby said Lee was this year’s obvious choice. However, after receiving the award, Lee said, “I really am at a loss for words. … This is way beyond what I deserve.” Lee told the crowd at the gala he would work tirelessly to “bring the stadium out of the ground.” A great responsibility Lee was first elected to the Cobb County Board of Commissioners in November 2002, serving the residents of northeast Cobb. He was elected as chairman in July 2010. In July 2012, Lee was asked, “Does Cobb offer too little, too much or the right amount of financial incentives to lure new jobs?” “There is no one size fits all approach to economic development. Incentives, if they are offered at all, should be tied to the number and quality of jobs created. That should be handled on a case by case basis,” Lee told the MDJ at the time.

Marietta Daily Journal Publisher Otis A. Brumby III, left, presented Cobb Chairman Tim Lee with the Citizen of the Year award at the Cobb Chamber Awards Banquet. 

Staff/Todd Hull

Team, Cobb: Security won’t be a problem

After the awards ceremony, Lee said he has a responsibility to the community to keep the residents informed about the progress of the new stadium. “We will do it the Cobb way, on time and on budget,” Lee said. “I want to make sure Cobb is proud of us.” Lee and his wife, Annette, have been married for 23 years and have three children and six grandchildren. He is a member of the First United Methodist Church in Marietta. Lee has worked in advertising and marketing for more than 35 years and owns a marketing consulting firm, Summit View Marketing Inc. Lee is a former board member of MUST Ministries and a past chairman of the Cobb Symphony Orchestra. In 2011, Lee was named by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of “The 100 Most Influential Altantans.” Glittering gowns and the tomahawk chop Nearly 1,000 guests in tuxedos and glittering gowns joined together Jan. 25 to practice the Braves ‘tomahawk chop’ and chant in unison. The black-tie affair at the Cobb Galleria Centre included a reception, dinner and awards ceremony. The large networking and social event is presented by the Cobb Chamber of Commerce every year. Past recipients of the Citizen of the Year award, dating back to 1963, include Howard Atherton in 1969. Atherton was a former Marietta mayor and owner of the Atherton Drug Store that once stood on the Square. Joe Mack Wilson was awarded the honor in 1980. Wilson served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1961 to 1988. He was mayor of Marietta from 1990 to 1993 and died in office at 73. Some former honorees are still

active in state and national politics. Johnny Isakson was honored in 1988 and remains in the U.S. Senate. In 1993, Newt Gingrich got the award right before becoming Speaker of the House of Representatives. Sam Olens received the Citizen of the Year award while serving as chairman of the Cobb Board of Commissioners. He now serves as Georgia’s attorney general.

Clutch support Local businessmen rallied behind team’s move, helping seal deal By Jon Gillooly

From staff reports

Atlanta Braves president John Schuerholz and County Chairman Tim Lee say they will be ready to handle the security needs of the new $672 million Major League Baseball stadium when it opens in 2017. The county’s public safety department has a budget of $143.5 million, including 655 sworn firefighters and 609 sworn police officers. Schuerholz said the Braves have their own in-house security department in addition to the 150 or so security staff hired on game days. “There is a cadre of full-time employees that run that operation for us,” he said. “Then that’s expanded each time we have a game or any kind of activity at the stadium.” The Braves use a mix of off-duty and on-duty Atlanta police officers on game days, he said. “It’s part of running a major facility like this, when hundreds of thousands of people are going to walk through your gate,” Schuerholz said. “You have to provide security. It’s expected and understood that it’s our responsibility in conjunction with one of the local law enforcement agencies, whether it’s local police or state police or whatever it may be, so we understand that and we do it, and we do it well, and we’ve done it for a long time.”

CUMBERLAND — One of the things that helped seal the deal to bring the Braves to Cobb County was having local business owners rally in support, Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee said. As commissioners were deciding whether to vote on an agreement with the Braves last November, Jay Cunningham, owner of Superior Plumbing, and John Loud, president of Loud Security Systems, launched an advertising campaign encouraging residents to get on the Braves bandwagon. “They raised public awareness by just how positive the whole project would be and drove the enthusiasm behind the project,” Lee said. “It was very critically important in as much as public awareness and understanding what the project was, was important to be successful.” Loud and Cunningham visited the wooded site of the proposed stadium, located near the Cumberland Mall, to film a commercial that aired on Comcast encouraging residents to support the project. They launched a website,, to encourage residents to urge commissioners to vote yes for the proposal.

Sharing the cost of security When the Braves move to Cobb in 2017, Schuerholz said the cost of security operations will be shared with the county. “It would be split,” he said. “We take on the primary burden of that. They may have some security folks that they have on duty as well. Ordinarily, it’s the team that runs the facility and the security.” Lee said security for the stadium would be a responsibility led by the Braves. “We will obviously work in concert with them to have our full force available to them as we do with others, so it all is going to be coordinated as is every public safety public response issue that we currently have in the county and the region,” Lee said. As in any development project that comes before commissioners, there will be a plan drawn up detailing what resources are needed. Those resources will not require a tax increase, Lee pledged. “No, absolutely not,” Lee said. “The Braves stadium itself, the security for that property will be led by them and supported by us, and any incremental needs that we might have will be identified well in advance with enough time to train the appropriate people and get the appropriate equipment and make sure they are geared up, so as the development opens.”

Rallying the troops They also rallied supporters to the town hall meetings held by commissioners prior to the vote. “When we bring forward an economic development project and the business community supports it,” Lee said, “then you know you’re on the right track, and you’re doing what you need to do to continue to grow the economy and build jobs, so having their support was

Staff/Jeff Stanton

Cobb businessmen Jay Cunningham, left, owner of Superior Plumbing, and John Loud, president of Loud Security, launched an advertising campaign urging Cobb residents to get behind the Braves’ move to Cobb. clearly an indication that we were in the right direction with the project.” Cunningham and Loud have volunteered together on previous civicminded campaigns, such as promoting special purpose local option sales tax referenda. “We’re trying to get Cobb to come together and realize that the stadium is a perfect and maybe the best idea ever for Cobb that we have,” Cunningham said during the campaign. “It brings Atlanta to Cobb. It puts us on show, essentially, forever. We can show the rest of Georgia and maybe even further who we are and how good Cobb is.” Their website offered a drawing to win a pair 2017 season tickets for Cobb residents who sent a message of support to commissioners.

Using all their resources “Jay and I are willing to put all of our resources behind it between now and (the day of the vote) to try to get the citizens to let the commissioners know that this is what we want,” Loud said. “I think for anybody else that’s outside

the area now that’s looking at moving into Georgia who says ‘Where do I think I want to go to?’ When they look at Cobb and see they supported and united around such a strong program where the Braves are saying we’re going to take care of all the cost overruns — where there’s a limiting factor in no new taxes — this is such a wonderful opportunity for Cobb to have.” The county’s $300 million commitment to the $672 million stadium includes funding from a $3 per room, per night fee on hotel stays, a new tax on owners of commercial property and apartments within the Cumberland Community Improvement District, a new tax on rental cars, and a reallocation of property tax revenue starting in 2017 that extends an existing bond payment for another 30 years. Loud said a new stadium and the mixed-use development proposed to go with it would generate dollars for the school system. “These 60 acres have produced zero SPLOST money for parks and recreation, have produced zero money for education, and when you look at the economic impact between jobs, construction work, the ongoing jobs from restaurants where people will live and play and the active community that is about to develop here, it’s a tremendous opportunity,” he said. Both men emphasized that they were promoting the stadium to help the community, not to personally benefit from it. “At the end of the day, this complex doesn’t increase plumbing per se or security per se, so I hope that people will see we’re stepping outside of what’s about security,” Loud said. “It’s about what’s good for economic development, what’s good for the Cobb citizens as a whole.”

Kansas City firm to design new $672M stadium From staff reports

The Atlanta Braves have negotiated with Kansas City, Mo.-based Populous to be the firm that will design it’s the team’s $672 million stadium in Cobb County. Populous is a global architectural firm that has

designed such stadiums as Marlins Park Miami in 2012, a 37,000-seat ballpark with a retractable roof that serves as the home of the Miami Marlins; Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins in Minneapolis, a 40,000seat ballpark built in 2010 costing $545 million; and

Yankee Stadium in New York in 2009, according to its website. The firm also designed Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., which opened in 2008. County Chairman Tim Lee said he had already given the Braves approval to hire Populous. Lee said

Populous was not designing the $400 million mixed-use development the Braves plan to build around the stadium. The Braves have not yet announced who will be doing that work. “Populous is only doing the architect work of the stadium,” he said.




Cobb Places


Shopping Hotspots

1. Kennesaw State University 2. Southern Polytechnic State University 3. Life University

1. Town Center at Cobb 2. Cumberland Mall

4. Chattahoochee Technical College (Mountain View Campus)

3. Merchant’s Walk 4. The Avenue East Cobb 5. The Avenue West Cobb

5. Chattahoochee Technical College (Marietta Campus) 6. Chattahoochee Technical College (South Cobb Campus)

Places of Interest 1. Kennesaw Mountain 2. Marietta National Cemetery 3. White Water 4. Six Flags Over Georgia 5. Marietta Square 6. The Big Chicken

1. WellStar–Kennestone 677 Church St, Marietta

Your complete source for personal or commercial banking: * Checking * Credit Cards * Savings * Remote Deposit * Loans * Online Banking * Mortgages **We are an SBA Preferred Lender**

678-569-4250 770-333-0772 1298 Concord Road Smyrna • 30080

3. WellStar–Cobb 3950 Austell Rd, Austell

Full-service, acute care hospital and Level II trauma center with open-heart surgery program, women’s center, oncology center & other medical specialties. 633 beds.

Full-service, acute care hospital with children’s emergency services, comprehensive oncology programs, wound care center & other medical specialties. 382 beds.

2. WellStar–Windy Hill 2540 Windy Hill Rd, Marietta

4. Emory-Adventist 3949 S. Cobb Dr, Smyrna

Long-term acute care facility with a sleep center, outpatient services, ambulatory surgery & other specialized services. 115 beds.

Knowledge, accuracy, and good old fashion service. Come experience the power of community banking.

3411 Ernest Barrett Parkway Marietta • 30064


A non-profit hospital operated by Adventist Health Systems as a joint venture with Emory Healthcare. 88 beds.




HITTING GROUND RUNNING New Chamber chair set to tackle aggressive agenda, including economic development, business incubator, transportation plans


obb Chamber of Commerce Chairman Greg Morgan passed the torch to attorney Ben Mathis during the organization’s annual black-tie dinner in January. As this year’s chamber chairman, Mathis leads a 75-member board and 37-member staff. There are about 2,600 companies that are members of the Cobb Chamber. Mathis, 54, said he aspires to serve in the role like such predecessors as U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, Synovus CEO Kessel Stelling and Bank of North Georgia President Rob Garcia. “This is all Rob Garcia’s fault is the way I look at it,” Mathis said. “Rob is the one who pulled me from being a member into really leadership, so I remind him constantly this year that he cannot get out of the chamber, that I’m not letting him get away.” Mathis co-founded in 1997 the business litigation firm of Freeman Mathis & Gary LLP, which is based in Cumberland and expanded into California last year with the acquisition of a seven-lawyer firm in San Francisco. FMG now has 70 lawyers working to represent both corporations and local governments. Mathis outlined his agenda for the coming year, which includes fully funding the county’s signature economic development program, protecting Dobbins Air Reserve Base from closure, creating a business incubator and supporting the county’s transportation plans.


Mass transit feasibility being studied Cobb Board of Commissioners Chairman Tim Lee said the county will have completed a study that determines the feasibility of building a bus-rapid transit line from Kennesaw State University to Midtown Atlanta in April. Isakson said he

Mathis file  Age: 54  Residence: Marietta  Family: Wife, Mary Anne; children: Ben, 20, Joe, 19, Annabelle, 17, Patty, 4  Job: Managing partner of Freeman Mathis & Gary LLP, a 70-lawyer firm representing corporations and local governments  Education: Bachelor’s in management, Georgia Tech; law degree, Washington & Lee

By Jon Gillooly / believes Cobb can obtain federal funding to help pay for the proposed $494 million cost of the system. “One of our goals is to be involved in that process and be involved in helping to shape and support what comes out of it,” Mathis said. “We don’t come in with any preconceived idea of what it should be.” Mathis has visited Cleveland to see for himself how that city’s bus-rapid transit system works. “I think it’s easy to not understand what it is until you see it,” he said. “And I think it has a tremendous amount of value. I think it’s the future.” Hard rail is too expensive and only in certain circumstances will it ever be feasible to build, Mathis believes. But busrapid transit is a different matter with the kind of technology coming online. Drones in the field In a few years, Mathis believes nobody will be riding on farm tractors to harvest crops, for example. “I mean, Bubba will sit in his room with a joy stick and run a tractor, a combine, and all those kind of machines,” he said. He cited a mining company that went from employing 60 people making annual salaries of $75,000 for driving giant Caterpillar dump trucks to only employing one driver. “Because they’re drone trucks,” he said. “And so I think the BRT concept is where you’re headed with dedicated buses because in a few years who knows what it will be. You may not even have drivers. So you can build those so much cheaper and create a system. Right now with drivers it’s a way to move people dramatically cheaper.” In short, Mathis is a fan. “It’s a much more financially feasible way, but how much is dedicated to that out of the next TSPLOST, local TSPLOST, how all that works, the intersection, those are things” that remain to be decided, he said. “We want to have a role in making sure our members in the business community have an understanding of what it is and help shape it and support it because there is a problem and it needs solutions and the question is what will the solution be.” An economic engine: The Braves Mathis said he enjoys the practice of law, his involvement in Georgia Tech — he will chair

the university’s alumni association in two years — and immersing himself in his community and what the chamber does. A good example of the chamber’s effectiveness is snagging the Atlanta Braves. “Every once in a while there’s like a signature moment, and all the things the chamber did came together for the Braves,” he said. The Major League baseball team’s move to

Cobb, he believes, will make a huge difference for the area. Looking around the country, bedroom communities are in danger of stagnating because as they get older, the children move away, he said. “The parents just stay in the house until they pass away or go someplace else and the area deteriorates,” he said. “I’ve lived in Marietta for 20 years, and I’ve seen some of the challenges Marietta has

because of the economic development didn’t happen the way we wanted it to, and I think Cobb was in danger of that.” The Atlanta Braves’ move here is a sign that the county is alive and well. EDGE funding, trails and BRAC Cobb’s Competitive Economic Development for a Growing Economy initiative, known as EDGE, is a five-year economic development strategy housed and staffed at the

chamber as a nonprofit. The goal is to have a $4 million budget over five years to carry out various benchmarks from job growth to increasing test scores. Chamber CEO David Connell said after raising between $1.3 million to $1.5 million last year, fundraising efforts were put on hold while EDGE staff worked on the Braves’ move. With the franchise purchasing a $34 million, 57-acre tract down the road from the Cumberland Mall in January, fundraising will now fire back up, Connell and Mathis said. Another goal of the new chairman’s is to protect Dobbins from next year’s potential Base Realignment and Closure process. “The base supports the runway and maintains the tower and that sort of stuff, and if the base were to be closed, the runway and tower would have to be operated either under some type of special government program, or Lockheed would have to operate it, or Lockheed might go somewhere else,” Connell said. Connecting the county’s series of trails from the Silver Comet Trail to the ones in the Town Center and Cumberland community improvement districts is also a goal. “We’re on the verge of having a trail system where literally you can go from Town Center all the way to the Galleria, all the way to Alabama, and so we’re going to put together a group to look at what needs to be done to connect it up and the resources to make it all tied together,” Mathis said. “Ben’s got a lofty set of goals, and it’s going to take a lot of support from the board of directors, and our chamber supports the agenda for our chair and their board of directors,” Connell said. “He’s got a very aggressive set of goals and we’re excited about executing his plan.”




Cobb County business associations ACWORTH BUSINESS ASSOCIATION P.O. Box 448, Acworth, GA 30101 (770) 423-1330 President: Jay White Meetings: Fourth Thursday 11:15 a.m., various locations Membership: $75 per year AUSTELL BUSINESS ASSOCIATION P.O. Box 975, Austell, GA 30168 President: Marla Miller, Suite Assets, LLC Meetings: Third Tuesday, 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Membership: $50 per year



Skip Spann Connector to add breathing room By Nikki Wiley

EAST COBB BUSINESS ASSOCIATION 1050 E. Piedmont Road, Suite 108, Marietta, GA 30062 President: Mary-Kathryn Boler Meetings: Third Tuesday, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Hollycrest Hall and fourth Tuesday 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Red Sky Tapas & Bar Membership: $85 per year KENNESAW BUSINESS ASSOCIATION P.O. Box 777, Kennesaw, GA 30156 (770) 423-1330 Meetings: Second Tuesday, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. President: Mark Barre, Impact Executive Offices Membership: $85 per year MARIETTA BUSINESS ASSOCIATION P.O. Box 2152, Marietta, GA 30061 (678) 995-3622 Meetings: Second Monday, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. President: Mark V Zangari Membership: $95 per year NORTHEAST COBB BUSINESS ASSOCIATION P.O. Box 777, Kennesaw, GA 30156 President: Carrie Cox, Challise & Company Salon & Spa Meetings: Third Wednesday, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Piedmont Church, 570 Piedmont Road, Marietta Membership: $85 per year. SMYRNA BUSINESS ASSOCIATION P.O. Box 186, Smyrna, GA 30081 (770) 595-2163 President: Joseph Malbrough, The UPS Store Meetings: First Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Membership: $100 per year SOUTH COBB BUSINESS ASSOCIATION P.O. Box 1383, Mableton, 30126 (678) 224-7300 President: Barbara Hickey, The Etiquette School of Atlanta Meetings: First Wednesday, Presbyterian Village, Austell, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Membership: $80 per year VININGS BUSINESS ASSOCIATION 4355 Cobb Pkwy, Suite J530, Atlanta, GA 30339 (770) 874-5629 President: Todd Ash Meetings: First Tuesday, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Social Vinings, 3621 Vinings Slope Drive Membership: $95 per year WEST COBB BUSINESS ASSOCIATION 3600 Dallas Hwy. Suite 230, Marietta, GA 30064 President: Chartana Vik Meetings: Third Tuesday, 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m., Lost Mountain Baptist Church in Powder Springs Cost: $80 per year

TOWN CENTER — Transportation earned the spotlight of the Town Center Area Community Improvement District in 2013. Designed as a bridge between academia and business, the Skip Spann Connector broke ground in October. The $17.8 million project, which will create a bridge between Frey Road and Busbee Drive over Interstate 75, is expected to open by mid-2015. It will continue to Townpark Lane, connecting Kennesaw State University and the Towne Park business center. An additional off-ramp from I-75 north at Chastain Road will be constructed from Busbee Drive. Another ramp off I-75 south will connect directly to Frey Road without merging traffic onto Chastain Road. That’s expected to reduce traffic on Chastain Road as much as 19 percent. “This is a design that serves the community, but it’s also a gateway to the community,” said Mason Zimmerman, board chairman for the Town Center Area Community Improvement District, a self-taxing district that includes the area of the bridge. Students from KSU, Southern Polytechnic State University and Chattahoochee Technical College designed the appearance of the bridge that will mimic the silhouette of Kennesaw Mountain’s twin peaks. Engineers designed its infrastructure. Bike lanes and a pedestrian sidewalk will also be included. Officials said at the road’s groundbreaking it will be a monument to a man who worked to fuel growth in the north Cobb suburbs. The bridge’s namesake, the late Thomas E. “Skip” Spann, is credited with leveraging $27 million into $106 million worth of local, state and federal funds to improve the Town Center area, said Cobb Chairman Tim Lee. Spann died in August 2012. Spann was the founding chairman of the Town Center Area CID and manager of the Town Center at Cobb mall, and the name just made sense, said Zimmerman. Ilyene Spann, who was married to Skip Spann for 54 years, said her husband was alive when the county announced its intention to name the connector after him and was excited by the news. She can’t wait to drive on the bridge named after her husband. “It’s a great legacy for our family to know the Skip Spann Connector will always be there,” Ilyene Spann said. Zimmerman said his passion helped drive the Town Center community. “It could not be named the BusbeeFrey connector,” Zimmerman said. “It had to be the Skip Spann Connector. Literally a bridge. It had to be that way.” The idea for the connection originated from talks between Cobb government officials, the CID and KSU.

Staff/Kelly J. Huff

Town Center Area CID Chairman Mason Zimmerman welcomes those gathered for the official groundbreaking ceremony for the Skip Spann Connector, which will offer another avenue into the Kennesaw State University campus from I-75.

“We needed d d to take k traffi ffic off ff Chastain,” said Lanie Shipp, executive director of the CID. Commuters and KSU’s 25,000 students share the road that brings motorists from I-75 to U.S. 41 passing the university’s campus. That creates heavy congestion during morning and afternoon peak travel times. “That’s like a whole city and a lot of that is pulled from the north,” Shipp said, referring to KSU’s student population and 3,000 employees. KSU President Dan Papp expects the project will benefit more than just students. Papp called it a “marvel” of teamwork, saying it will help

drive economic development in the surrounding area that includes the Town Center at Cobb mall. Town Center Area CID fronted the $1.5 million bill for preliminary engineering and design work conducted by Marietta-based Croy Engineering and Netherlands-based Arcadis. The Cobb Department of Transportation is also contributing $5 million, about $10.6 million will come from the Georgia Department of Transportation and another $700,000 will be provided by KSU. Construction is expected to take two years.

Good news for Home Depot = good news for housing By Jon Gillooly

CUMBERLAND — The Home Depot chairman and CEO Frank Blake, in a recent speech to the Cobb Chamber of Commerce, said the retail giant is exceeding growth expectations, which is a sign the housing market is back. Home Depot, the nation’s largest chain of home improvement stores with headquarters in Cobb County, reported its largest year-over-year growth in same-store sales in more than 20 years for the second quarter of 2013, he said. “It is a sign of the housing market coming back,” Blake said. “But to give you a perspective on just the size and power of the company that Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank founded just slightly over 30 years ago, in three months of the second quarter of this year, our business

grew $2 billion. That’s pretty amazing.” Blake anticipates the market will continue to recover based on what’s happening in areas of the country hit hardest by the downturn, such as Florida, California and Arizona. “It’s home price appreciation, so people, their houses are getting out of negative equity situations, and so people are willing to invest in their homes again,” he said. A headwind to the recovery is that it continues to be difficult for families to get credit, particularly for new homeowners. “As part of the correction to the crash there are very strict standards around mortgages and how much of a down payment you have to make and the (credit) score you need to get loans, and so it’s much harder to qualify for mortgages now,” he said. “Particularly for the first-time

homebuyer, you’re seeing a lot of the younger generation that have significant student debt, and so you’re actually Frank Blake seeing a slowdown in sort of that early first-time homebuyer.” Blake said much of the retailer’s growth is coming in the form of online sales, which spiked more than 50 percent in the third quarter. “People, they want the comfort of shopping in their home, being able to pick up in the store, being able to return in the store, the breadth of selection online. We’re seeing big growth

online,” he said. The shale oil boom in North Dakota has allowed the retailer to open a new store in that state next month. There are also plans to open stores in Mexico. “But you know, the new store growth is not the significant part of our growth stream. It’s mostly online and in-store,” he said. County chairman Tim Lee, who said he was grateful that Home Depot’s corporate headquarters are in the county within the Cumberland Community Improvement District. “Where Home Depot goes, so does the economy,” Lee said. “The stronger their sales are, it’s a good indicator as to where the economy is going overall, as people use more discretionary income for home improvement, and it’s also an indication that the building market, new homes, is starting to come back and show signs

of improvement, which for our area specifically, is a catalyst for economic growth. Combining their strength with the recent news of economic development in Cobb County (the Atlanta Braves moving here) the future looks bright for Cobb.” Blake touched on the community service of Home Depot, such as the $80 million the retailer’s foundation committed to nonprofits dedicated to improving the homes of veterans. Every year from Sept. 11 to Nov. 11, the company also makes a concentrated effort to serve its communities. “Many of these projects are right here in Cobb County, from performing critical home repairs to building wheelchair ramps to refurbishing transitional housing for formerly homeless veterans,” Blake said.







Tag team McCoy and Fogard have been one of Atlanta’s top selling duo for seven years By Bill Baldowski Special to the MDJ

MARIETTA — If life is an adventure, as Re/Max Around Atlanta’s top sales team of Arlene McCoy and Julie Fogard described it, then it has been a highly successful adventure. Arlene McCoy & Associates on Dallas Highway in Marietta sold more than $3.8 million in real estate last year and has been one of Re/Max’s top producing sales team for seven years, including

Staff/Jeff Stanton

Arlene McCoy, left, of Re/Max Realty and Julie Fogard, a buyers agent, in front of one of McCoy’s listings in west Cobb.

2006 where they were also Cobb County’s top real estate sales team. Asked her secret to success, McCoy credits it to her work ethic. “My work is not a job, it is an adventure,” she said. “I can’t think of many other occupations which allow me to not only meet a lot of people, but meet them in a relatively short amount of time.” Fogard has much the same business philosophy saying the team’s success is maintaining contact with clients long after the real estate has been sold. “In any business where you are serving the public and satisfying a need, there is no time limit or, end of that business relationship,” she said. “It is on going and continuous.

See Team, 10BB

TOP SELLER: Re/Max Around Atlanta Realtor Helen Durrence looks over a recent listing before showing the house to clients in Marietta. Durrence is the top individual sales producer for her office, as she finds the perfect house with just the right amenities for her clients / 12BB




Finding a balance Couple renovate Marietta home while retaining its unique look Sally Litchfield / MDJ Features Editor /

n 1957, when Marietta resident Ross Reeves bought the California style modern home on Whitlock Drive it surely sparked interest in a neighborhood of traditional homes. Dana and Hicks Poor currently own the home that remains a conversation piece.


“We had our eye on the house for years. We liked the style. It was different. It was interesting. We saw the potential. When we first walked into it, we realized that it was laid out like we would have laid it out if we had built it,” said Hicks, a General Contractor and owner of Poorter Group. “We both liked living in an older home. We have always like it from the outside but had never seen the inside. When we walked in we were really excited,” said Dana, an interior designer who owns boxtree Designs Inc. The couple has two daughters, 7-yearold Sidney and 5-year-old Holland who attend West Side Elementary. The Poor’s home is typical of mid-century modern architecture from roughly 1933 to 1965. “This was the time when mid-century modern was established so it was very period but not as common in this area. If you went to California, there were tons of houses built like this. The ones built in this area are primarily ranches,”

said Dana, a 1997 Walker School graduate, who grew up in east Cobb. “There are a handful of homes in the area that fit this genre. We had our eyes on all of them. This one stands out with the flat roof and is more California modern,” said Hicks, a Marietta native who grew up a quarter-mile down the road from this home. He graduated from Marietta High School in 1993. The Poors received most of the history on the home from Reeves. Gloria Kidd Brown, who lived on Whitlock Drive, collaborated with Reeves’ wife on the design of the house. “We read that (Brown) was one of the first female architects to graduate from Georgia Tech. She briefly did work for John Portman, and then she went to work for WP Stephens (Lumber Company) as an architect. Back then, they were more full service. Her father was superintendent at WP Stephens and built the house,” Hicks said. The couple purchased


Staff/Kelly J. Huff

Above: Hicks and Dana Poor have totally renovated their Whitlock Drive home to allow for their family’s lifestyle, taking a home that needed a little TLC and turning into a well-known home in the Marietta neighborhood. Right: The couple enjoy a quiet moment on their deck. Below left: Dana Poor checks color swatches and tile samples in the parlor/office part of her home. the home out of foreclosure in November 2012, started renovating mid-January and moved in June 2013. They restored the home to a new condition by replacing the drywall, electrical wiring, insulation, roof and windows. “We gutted the house,” Hicks said. “We knew we planned

to raise our girls here. We knew the house was 60 years old. We made the decision to gut and renovate it. In 20 years, we wanted to live in a 20-year-old house,” he said. The Poors stayed true to the architectural integrity of the home by incorporating original architectural details such as the fireplaces, doors, hardware, the girls’ bathroom fixtures and vanities, hardwood floors and period-appropriate lights. Although they combined and reconfigured an area in the downstairs for a master bedroom and bath, the only area structurally changed was the addition of a deck. “We didn’t add to the footprint at all,” Dana said. The Poors also returned a porch glassed in by a previous owner back to its original state. Through careful thought and design, the Poors found balance in their modern home. “A modern home can feel very rigid, cold and sharp,” Hicks said. “We tried to find the balance between maintaining the clean lines and also having a comfortable home to live in and raise our kids in. You don’t want it to feel sterile and cold.” The couple painted the


From 9BB “Even after the sale, we do not automatically move on to the next buyer or seller but we remain in contact with our clients because we view them now as friends,” she said, adding it is keeping in touch with clients and getting referrals that accounts for much of their sales success. Another element of the team’s success comes from the support of their families. McCoy, who has been married for 21 years and calls her husband “the wind beneath my wings,” is not only a mother with three daughters but is now a grandmother. “My girls are not only amazing, they are driven,” she said. “They understand what is required of them and have incorporated that into their own lives through watching the work ethic of their parents.” Fogard, who has been married for 24 years, said she could have done very little in real estate without the support of her husband and two daughters. “It is through this support from my family, and the joy I receive

Arlene McCoy

Julie Fogard

 Age: 50  Years in real estate: 11  Hometown: Native of Virgin Islands, now lives in Powder Springs.  College Education: Park College in Parkville, Mo.  Amount of sales last year for Arlene McCoy/ Julie Fogard team: $13.8

 Age: 48  Years in real estate: 14  Hometown: Redondo Beach, Calif.  College: University of LaVerne, LaVerne, Calif.  Amount of sales last year: $13.8 million

from being able to help others, which has been the greatest help to me in this business,” she said. Although real estate is tops on their list of primary interests, McCoy also enjoys reading, cooking and baking in her spare time; while Fogard enjoys reading and exercising. Although both love the business of buying and selling real estate, they also see themselves as consumer educators. “Our job is as much to educate our clients on the status of the market as it is actual selling properties,” McCoy said.

“An educated consumer is an astute and knowledgeable consumer,” she said. “Julie and I enjoy working with people like that, who have taken it upon themselves to put time and effort into learning about the real estate market and trends with regard to their real estate interests, whether commercial or residential,” she said. McCoy and Fogard also enjoy keeping themselves up to date with trends in the real estate market, which each feels adds to their own knowledge and makes them better real estate agents.

walls a light, neutral color in order to display their artwork. “We add a lot of color through the art and furniture,” Dana said. The Poors are making their new home their own. “Our house is a storyboard. Everything we have has a story behind it. This house allows us to show off those pieces of furniture or art or pictures,” Hicks said.

They also agree Cobb County is now the best place to purchase real estate in the entire metro Atlanta area. McCoy said when she started selling real estate in 2003, the market “took off’ but just four years later in 2007, “real estate went down the tubes.” However, in 2012 the real estate market started to rise again, she said, and that boost in the market was especially true for Cobb County, she said. “If people are serious about purchasing real estate, they should find their way back to Cobb County,” McCoy said. As far as the price range of homes showing the most increase in current sales, McCoy said any residential property up through $100,000 is going fast while those up to the $150,000 to $200,000 range are also being snapped up. “Even those in the $250,000 range, if they are in good condition, are also selling well,” she said. However, in real estate sales, like many others business ventures that involve the general public, the keyword is location. “By location, we mean how the community surrounding the residential property in question shapes up with regard to the

“We don’t really own anything that doesn’t mean something to us, that doesn’t have a story. It’s connected to family or we purchased it on a trip or bought it together. We just didn’t fill it with stuff. It’s fun to have those connections,” Dana said. “This is my dream home. I can’t imagine living somewhere I’d like better,” Dana said.

school system which serves that community, the convenience of commercial and retail businesses nearby plus the important element of ease of transportation in the area,” McCoy said. “Buyers are picky, but if you are in the right area and the house is in good shape, it will sell,” McCoy said. For those wanting to sell their homes, Fogard said, they should get started on some of the improvement projects and other things the sellers had always wanted to do to that home.” As to the real estate success of their partnership, McCoy and Fogard said it stems from the mutual respect they have for each other. “It starts with us building our business partnership on the foundation of friendship and respect we have for one another,” McCoy said. Fogard said the duo has worked together through the bad and good times, both of which have fostered and solidified their partnership. “Of course, we would all like for it to all be happy times in real estate, like in any other business, but that is not reality,” she said.




Schools driving mantra: ‘Location, location, location’ By Nikki Wiley

MARIETTA — It’s a story being told across the country but those in Cobb’s real estate industry say it especially rings true locally. The housing market continues to climb out of the depths of the Great Recession that held many would be sellers hostage following the 2008 market crash, which sucked the equity from properties and left homeowners owing more on mortgages than their homes were worth. Foreclosures flooded the market and construction came to a screeching halt. But in Cobb new construction is starting to pop up again, which Realtors say is a promising sign of things to come. As of November, the latest numbers available, 1,522 building permits had been issued across Cobb. That’s 445 more than the 1,077 that had been granted in November 2012. But it’s more than double the 700 permits given by this time in 2011. Marietta-based Traton Homes is behind one development on its way to Marietta near the intersection of Cherokee and Montgomery streets a short distance from the Square. With some homes not even out of the ground yet, 17 homes in the 8-acre 45-home development have already been sold. The homes are being sold in the $300,000 to $350,000 range. Chris Poston, co-principal of Traton Homes, said the mantra “location, location, location” is being driven more by local public schools. Marietta City and Cobb public schools combined with the city’s proximity to

downtown Atlanta has more home buyers looking to Cobb, Poston said. There’s more demand for new construction in Cobb, said Bruce Ailion, Realtor with Re/Max Greater Atlanta, who specializes in east Cobb home sales. “Spring and summer there was a two to three month inventory of new homes,” Ailion said. “Today it’s like a four- or five-month inventory.” Most homebuyers want a new home, Ailion said, and are willing to travel or commute to find it. “There’s a gravitation toward newer, more modern, completely fixed up or brand new, and the buyer is actually willing to go further away,” Ailion said. Across metro Atlanta home sales are up 20 percent, but in Cobb that number jumps to 30 percent. “It sounds like a lot but it’s from a very low base,” Ailion said. “It’s really picked up.” Though home construction is up, Ailion said there’s still plenty of demand. “The takeaway is that in all of Cobb County, around 700,000 residents, there are only 333 new single-family homes in the Multiple Listing Service currently for sale out of a total of 2,503 available homes,” Ailion said. In east Cobb, 93 new homes are on the market with an average list price of $678,000. That’s up from the 77 new home sales that took place in 2013 with an average price $523,000, Ailion said. That story rings true across north Cobb where prices have also risen. In north Cobb, between Interstates 75 and 575, there are 16 new homes on the market with an average price of $269,500, Ailion said. About 65 homes sold in 2013 for an

Staff/Kelly J. Huff

Chris Poston and his brother, Clif, co-principals with Traton Homes, are building single-family homes in Marietta at the new Montgomery Park development. average of $191,500. In northwest Cobb, west of I-75 and north of Ga. 120, there are 99 new homes on the market for an average price of $470,900, up from the average of $383,600 on 2013’s 90 new home sales.

Prices are up in central west Cobb as well jumping from $260,100 to $296,800. Ailion said price hike is a good sign. “Construction and real estate drives the economic recovery,” Ailion said. “One of the reasons

the recovery was so anemic in 2009, 2010, 2011 was there was no new construction activity at all.” South Cobb has seen a slight fall in new home prices from an average of $297,000 in 2013 to $273,000.




SELLIN’ HELEN Top real estate sales agent uses Golden Rule as her philosophy in both business and in life By Bill Baldowski Special to the MDJ

MARIETTA — No one was happier about the Atlanta Braves moving to Cobb County than Helen Durrence, one of Re/Max Around Atlanta’s top sales agents in Cobb. She believes that event represents another plus for the area, which she said already holds many advantages for residential and commercial property

ownership. The married mother of two, whose daughter is an Atlanta attorney and whose son will graduate from Georgia State University Law School this year, has been in real estate for more than 25 years and has established a track record that few can match. In 2011 and 2012, Durrence was one of the top 10 individual sales agents in the Cobb County Association of Realtors and

THE HELEN DURRENCE FILE Years in real estate: More than 25 Hometown: Kennesaw College Education: University of Georgia Amount of sales last year: Approximately $12 million ‘I try to put myself in the place of my clients and do for them everything that I would want an agent to do for me if I were the client. You treat people the right way and everything will work out.’

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followed that up by being named the top individual sales agent in her Re/Max Around Atlanta office in 2012 and 2013. “Last year was my best year in real estate, as I sold more than $12 million in properties,” she said. Although her client list is long, Durrence, who said her reputation is only surpassed by her faith and her family as meaning the most to her, is even more proud of the fact that more than 80 percent of her clients are repeat customers while many of her new clients have been referred to her by former clients. “I am proud of each property I sell, whether it is a $40,000 condo in the downtown Atlanta area or a $1 million home in a suburb,” she said. Each property is important to her because, “each property is important to my client, no matter what the price,” Durrence said. “I try to put myself in the place of my clients and do for them everything that I would want an agent to do for me if I were the client,” she said. “You treat people the right way and everything will work out.” Her business philosophy is the same as her

Staff/Kelly J. Huff

Re/Max Around Atlanta Realtor Helen Durrence is the top individual sales producers for her office in Marietta, finding that perfect house with just the right amenities for her clients. ‘I am proud of each property I sell, whether it is a $40,000 condo in the downtown Atlanta area or a $1 million home in a suburb,’ she said. philosophy about life, both of which center on the Golden Rule. “As an individual and as a real estate agent, I want to be treated, and deserve to be treated, with dignity and respect and my clients, whether buying or selling, deserve nothing less, and will get nothing less, from me,” she said. “My word is my bond as I will never make a promise to a buyer or seller that I cannot fulfill.” Helping dreams materialize She views herself in a profession where she has the ability to help people fulfill the American dream

of home ownership. “We are blessed that home ownership is more affordable now where professionals or families, regardless of age, can afford a nice home somewhere in the Atlanta area,” Durrence said. If being a top sales agent has a drawback, it lies in Durrence having limited time to spend with her family. Although she remains an avid Georgia Bulldog fan as both her son and daughter are UGA graduates, her time with them and her husband has become even more limited. However, she said she is blessed to have an understanding

and supportive family. “With the busy schedules each member of my family has, we try to make the limited time we have together very special family moments,” Durrence said. “My faith and my family are the strong foundations on which I stand,” she said. “Knowing that both are there to uplift me is why I am so enthusiastic and passionate about what I do.” Location still the key to successful buying Although there are many factors which enter

See Sellin’, 15BB




The Mabry family’s ...


OASIS See Page 14BB




Staff/Kelly J. Huff Marietta ‘Gentleman-Farmer’ Jim Mabry prepares his self-pay fruit and vegetable stand for regular customers on the property that has been in his family for more than 100 years.




t is very unusual to find a farm in east Cobb. Jim Mabry, 76, and his wife, Levada, live on the Mabry family farm that is tucked away in a bustling residential area, surrounded by subdivisions and passing cars on Sandy Plains Road.

“I like the farm. I like the land more than I like money so I didn’t sell it,” said Jim Mabry, whose grandfather, Virgil Mabry, established the farm in 1904. Virgil Mabry paid $100 for Land Lot 178, and later he and his brother purchased another 180 acres making the 220-acre farm. Throughout the years, the Mabry family has raised cattle and horses and farmed the land, producing

Mabry family keeps tradition of farming alive in east Cobb

fruits and vegetables, timber and cotton. “The Mabry family has been farming (Mabry Farm) for 109 years,” said Jim Mabry, who was born and raised on the farm. He was in the first graduating class of Sprayberry High School when it was located on Cobb Parkway North/US41 (now occupied by The Walker School). The years have seen good times and hard times. Parts of the farm were sold and ownership among family members has changed. One sister, Sue Mabry Harris, sold her ownership of 26.5 acres on the farm to Cobb County for establishment of a passive park named Mabry Park. Jim and his sister, Betty Mabry Pettett, own the remainder of the farm. She continues a horse operation while growing tomatoes on her 22 acres and Jim farms his 22 acres. Depending on the season, Jim will grow

blackberries, figs, sweet corn, tomatoes, apples, peaches, and Muscadine grapes among others. “Some of (the fruits and vegetables) is pick your own and some of it, we pick and sell. Everything is sold from a stand on the farm,” Jim said. He and his wife of 56 years have two grown children and four grandchildren. Jim also continues a 35year operation of producing honey at the Mabry Farm Apiary. Mabry’s brotherin-law and Mabry’s wife’s uncle started the apiary when they brought some bees to the farm. “After they lost interest in the bees, I decided to become a self-taught beekeeper,” he said. “I guess I like hard work,” Jim said. Mabry Farm is at 4480 Sandy Plains Road, Marietta. For more information on Mabry Farm, visit

Above: Mabry grows sweet corn, tomatoes and apples. Figs, peaches, pears and blackberries are among other crops, including his own line of honey. Left: Mabry assists Mircea Ghetu, 7, and his sister, Eileen, 4, of Marietta as they pick blueberries at his east Cobb Farm off Sandy Plains Road on Monday. Before boarding horses on his farm, Mabry raised cattle. Below: After checking on his bee hives in the back pasture of his 22 acres, he found himself being followed back to his pickup truck by a herd maybe looking for an extra apple from his orchards.




Foreclosure crisis abating, expert says wanting to build new homes. “They are purchasing smart,” Crowder said. MARIETTA — He said developers are Analysts are encouraged offering smaller homes in by the drastic decrease lower price ranges. in foreclosures in Cobb “You are not seeing the County and metro Atlanta. million dollar homes,” he So far in 2014, 600 said. properties have been The improvement to advertised for auction. the market is also being That is down 56 percent seen with new interest in from the 1,365 properties commercial properties. that were advertised Crowder said previous during the same period a economic downturns only year ago. lasted about In Cobb, 18 months, but the foreclosure this time big process begins players in the when a mortgage commercial company issues a industry, like notice of default. hotel chains, After a notice of stopped all plans sale is advertised, for development the property is in 2007. auctioned off Charlie “You are to the highest seeing all the bidder on the court Crowder major builders house steps for who have weathered the cash on the first Tuesday storm,” Crowder said. of each month. The Cobb County A new housing bubble foreclosure rate had been emerging? increasing since the 2008 These years of high mortgage crisis, with September 2011 being the foreclosure rates have come with a cost that worst in recent history. will continue to change According to a report neighborhoods in the in October by the Atlanta area, said Tim Franzen, Regional Commission, an organizer with Occupy a planning and intergovernmental agency Our Homes ATL. Occupy Our Homes for the 10-county area, ATL is a grassroots the foreclosure rate has returned to levels not seen organization launched in May 2011 to empower since 2006, before the residents impacted by the Great Recession began. housing crisis to take on This year alone, every banks and fight evictions. county in the metro area Franzen, who has led has fewer foreclosure some demonstrations filings in 2013 than in on the courthouse steps, 2012, according to the said he owns a home in ARC report. Marietta, which he started Mike Alexander, renting after accepting a ARC’s research and job in Atlanta. Franzen analytics division said he could not afford manager, said the new the commute. numbers are great The mortgage he economic news. had on the house was “The foreclosure crisis “underwater,” meaning has definitely abated,” the house had lost so Alexander said. much value it was worth less than what Franzen Land buys and new owed the bank, so he subdivisions decided to rent it out at a After a full year of loss, he said. a steady decline in the Franzen said the number of Cobb homes overall news on the on the auction block, the housing front is good president and founder of Crowder Realty, LLC says and even the value of his the real estate market “has home has gone up. “When looking at turned back around.” who’s buying, it becomes Charlie Crowder, who scary,” Franzen said. has been a broker since Franzen said 1972, said the focus of corporations and private the industry has moved away from short sales and equity groups are buying up hundreds of thousands foreclosures. of homes around metro “The saturation of Atlanta for the sole foreclosures is gone,” purpose of renting them Crowder said. out. Many have access Crowder said banks are loaning again and new to cash from offshore financial interests in homeowners are able to China, Japan, Europe and get financing. Dubai. “The mortgage money Franzen said large is back,” Crowder said. companies are buying The uptick in the real homes in bundles to estate market is not just create a new market in the for existing homes, but housing sector. also for large land sales “They have spent for new subdivisions. millions of dollars buying Crowder said up these bank-owned developers are looking vacants,” Franzen said. for a good value on the Franzen believes best properties in metro this is the same type of Atlanta. manipulation that crashed “The land prices are the housing market when going back up, but we haven’t reached the prices the Great Recession started in 2008. of 2004, 2005, 2006,” “The same ones who Crowder said. crashed the economy Developers are ready are benefiting from it,” to pounce on reasonably Franzen said. “One thing priced tracts, but the real that all bubbles have in estate market is being common is that they pop.” driven by residents By Rachel Gray

Sellin’ From 12BB into buying a home, none is more important than location and Durrence believes Atlanta and Cobb County remain two of the state’s prime locations and where she draws most of her business. “I enjoy working with a buyer who wants to be near a city with great restaurants and easy access to wonderful activities and

events,” she said. “Cobb County and metro Atlanta are the best places to be,” Durrence said. With Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport as a worldwide destination, Durrence said she has always heard one has to go through Atlanta to get anywhere in the world. “That begs the question,” she said. “If Atlanta is a hub to get anywhere, why not stay in Atlanta?” She credits her work

Marietta resident Larry Zenoni sweeps the fall leaves off his 1909 craftsman style home on Forest Avenue. The home was originally built by Marietta resident George H Keeler.  Staff/Kelly J. Huff

Plenty of character Tradition meets unique craftsmanship in heart of Marietta’s historic district By Sally Litchfield MDJ Features Editor

When Larry Zenoni decided to buy a home in 1999, he was drawn to the historic district of Marietta where he narrowed his search to two houses. His home, built in 1909 in a true arts-and-crafts style, sits on a quiet street within walking distance of the Marietta Square. “I’m not really a person who wanted to live in a subdivision. All these houses are different. They have character to them and it was close to the (Marietta) Square. I walk up there all the time for dinner. When I first started exploring the area, I knew somewhere in this area is where I needed to be,” said Zenoni, who previously lived in a townhome in Marietta. “This house was a better fit for me. It was different from any house I’d ever seen. I thought this might be a good place for me,” said Zenoni, a 1978 Georgia Tech graduate. He grew up in Sandy Springs and moved to Marietta in 1983. He owns a small family manufacturing business in Marietta. The traditional craftsmanship of arts-andcrafts style appealed to Zenoni. “The arts-and-craft style was a revolt against all the ornateness of the Victorian age. They tried to keep everything simple and

ethic to her parents, both of whom she said had the same trait. “My parents felt as I do, that if you can look at yourself in the mirror and know, without a shadow of a doubt that you have done your best in whatever profession you choose, then you have achieved something that, to me is worth more than money, self satisfaction and inner peace,” she said, adding that she is probably her own worst critic. Although her business reputation and customer

Above: After getting home from work, Zenoni finds a comfortable spot in a window seat to read a good book in his Forest Avenue home. Bel ow right: Zenoni has repurposed an old heating radiator in the foyer that is original to the home as a table. have a use for everything,” he said. “I liked that the house has a few big rooms rather than a lot of small rooms requiring a different style of decorating or function for each one. That makes it good for me,” he said. Typical of the arts-in-craft style are the many built-ins such as the window seat with underneath storage and the china cabinet. “You didn’t need a lot of furniture because of the built-ins,” he said. Although a previous owner built out the attic during the 1950s, adding two bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs, the downstairs remains in its original state. “(The house) hasn’t

confidence in her helps keep her motivated, Durrence said being able to work alongside young professionals, “is a joy in itself.” “To work with people I am proud to say are not only fellow real estate professionals but friends keeps me motivated and energized,” Durrence said. “I am a people person and enjoy being around people and this business gives me that opportunity, both with the people I work with and with my clients, who come from all over,” she said.

been altered in these front rooms. The wood has never been painted. The radiators have never been painted. The leaded glass windows original. The brick fireplace and mantle are original along with lighting fixtures,” he said. The maple floors are also original to the home. “You don’t see maple floors too often,” Zenoni said. Like most historic homes, Zenoni’s home comes with an interesting history. George Keeler (former owner of Tranquilla, an antebellum home on Kennesaw Avenue currently owned by Beth and Greg Griffin) built the home with his first wife in 1909. “(The Keelers) were downsizing from a Victorian house where they lived on Cherokee Street past the Montgomery House,” Zenoni said. According to the 1910 census, Keeler was in his 60s at the time. He lived in the home until 1916 when his wife died. In 1916, Keeler sold the house to Guyton Reynolds, the son of a wellknown Marietta dentist

Aristedes Reynolds. Three years later, Keeler married Sallie Camp, who lived in Tranquilla. Keeler lived in Tranquilla until he died in the 1930s. “Beth and Greg Griffin purchased Tranquilla from George Keeler, the grandson of the original George Keeler,” Zenoni said. Several families owned the home between Guyton Reynolds and the 1940s when the Talbot family purchased the home. In 1992, Jennifer and Greg Palmer purchased the home from the Talbot estate. “They were the ones who did all restoration to the house. They lived upstairs in the two bedrooms and bath while they worked on the downstairs. They came downstairs in the morning and could see into the basement while the floors were gone,” Zenoni said. “I just tried to maintain the home. I have no plans to move. I’m comfortable here. I’ve pretty much got everything I need. All I’ve done is try to maintain what the people did before me,” Zenoni said.




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Former nurse to be new WellStar CEO because of the short-term contract. “We knew when we hired (Jennings) what our MARIETTA — time frame would look WellStar Health System has named the first woman like,” Maddox said. The board reviewed who will take on the applications from two position of president and other internal WellStar chief executive officer employees, who Maddox of the public, nonprofit did not want to name. hospital system in 2016. On Feb. 6, the board Candice Saunders will unanimously voted 16-0 be promoted when current to select Saunders, who CEO Reynold Jennings’ Maddox contract said has ends on Dec. been part 31, 2015. WellStar’s The vision, WellStar Board of I think without a doubt, mission and Trustees (Saunders) was the best strategic planning for ensured there will be person we could choose. seven years. She is somebody who “I think no change knows the system intiwithout of course for mately well. a doubt, the health (Saunders) system by was the selecting — Janie Maddox, best person Saunders, chairwoman, WellStar we could who earned Board of Trustees choose,” her stripes Maddox as a nurse said. “She is and then somebody worked who knows her way up the system intimately the administrative ladder, well.” now serving as executive Maddox said Saunder’s vice president and chief contract is still being operating officer of negotiated, so the length of WellStar. the contract and the salary “The mark of a great is not finalized. organization is being Jennings, who was able to promote from selected in August 2011 in within,” Jennings said. a 13-0 vote by the board “She will bring a breadth of trustees, drew a nearly of knowledge and experience that will ensure $1 million salary, with yearly performance-based a successful transition bonuses adding between and future growth $340,000 and $630,000, opportunities.” according to his hiring Saunders, 60, who contract. has two grown sons with The five-year contract her husband, Don, was also gave Jennings 30 promoted to COO of the paid vacation days, a WellStar Health System in $12,000 annual automobile March 2013. allowance, a $2,400 Since then, Saunders cellphone allowance and said she has worked with staff from all of WellStar’s $3,000 towards financial planning/tax preparation hospitals and outpatient services. clinics. “It has been a very A former nurse rewarding role,” Saunders focused on patients said. More than 35 years Saunders said the ago, Saunders began her board of trustees started career as a critical-care an initiative to create nurse at the Plantation “leadership continuity” General hospital in Fort at WellStar, so when Lauderdale, Fla. someone retires or moves She has a bachelor’s on to another opportunity degree in nursing from there is another person the University of South ready to take the reins. Florida in Tampa, and The transition over master’s degrees in the next year will allow business administration Saunders to work directly and health-services with Jennings, “so administration from the there will be no loss of University of Alabama at momentum,” she said. “I Birmingham. will get the benefit of his After the announcement mentoring.” about her promotion with This continuity is a strategy Saunders supports WellStar, Saunders said she did not see herself companywide, pushing team members to advance their skills. “We are committed to growing our leadership internally,” Saunders said. By Rachel Gray

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Board focused on internal candidates The WellStar Board of Trustee’s Succession Planning Committee was tasked with the internal vetting process for the CEO position. Janie Maddox, chairwoman of the WellStar Board of Trustees, said the board started looking for Jennings’ replacement as soon as he was hired

The mark of a great organization is being able to promote from within. She will bring a bredth of knowledge and experience that will ensure a successful transition and future growth opportunities. — Reynold Jennings, outgoing CEO of WellStar

becoming the president of a regional health system when starting out. But from the beginning of her medical career, Saunder said she took on management and governance duties. Prior to joining WellStar, Saunders was vice president of clinical strategy and service lines for Inova Health System in Falls Church, Va. “The leadership roles allowed me to create the environment,” Saunder said. For decades, Saunder said she has used her influence in decisionmaking positions with hospitals and academic institutions to provide the best of patient care to the region. “More than 1.4 million people rely on our services to live a healthy life,” Saunders said about the WellStar Health System. “The voice of our patients is very strong.” Maddox, who has served on the board of trustees for 15 years and is finishing her two-year term as WellStar’s first woman in the chair position, said she adores Saunders. “Not only is she smart and capable and experienced ... but her original caregiving spirit … it just always comes through,” Maddox said. WellStar’s place on business lists Saunders joined WellStar in May 2007 as president of WellStar Kennestone Hospital, overseeing the hospital’s blue tower expansion, the Kennestone Outpatient Pavilion construction and the level II trauma designation. As COO, Saunders developed a Hospital Presidents Council to increase efficiency and improved communication of WellStar’s five hospitals. Saunders said in the health care field, everything is accomplished through teamwork. WellStar was recently listed 39th in Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Companies Places to Work For, as well as in AARP’s Best Employers for Workers over 50 and Working Mother Magazine’s 100 Best Companies. What sets WellStar apart, according to Saunder, is a strategy of having physicians involved in the decision making process, including how to add to the network and navigate changing healthcare laws. “We are constantly learning,” said Saunders. She said the network will continue to expand the type of health services offered in the area. WellStar Health System is the largest not-for-profit health system in Georgia and serves residents in five counties, including the WellStar Kennestone Regional Medical Center, as well as the WellStar Cobb, Douglas, Paulding and Windy Hill hospitals.

Saunders, along with WellStar Cobb Hospital President Kem Mullins, Deal, Dr. Brandigi Claus, director of WellStar’s new Cobb Hospital Burn Unit, Wellstar Board of Trustees Chairwomen Janie Maddox, Dr. Fred Mullins, president of the JMS Burn Centers and Wellstar CEO Reynold Jennings cut the ribbon to officially open the new burn unit at Cobb Hospital in August of 2013. Saunders will take over Jennings’ role as CEO in 2016.

Staff/Kelly J. Huff

WellStar COO Candice Saunders presented Gov. Nathan Deal with a copy of WellStar’s 20th anniversary commemorative book in August 2013 when the governor visited the health system.

The Saunders file AGE: 60 FAMILY: Husband, Don, two sons JOB: In 2016 will move from WellStar’s COO to CEO EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree in nursing, University of South Florida; master’s degrees in business administration and healthservices administration, University of Alabama

Dr. Ann D. Thomas Providing Christ-Centered Medical Care Medicare Patients Welcome Reasonable Rates for Self-Pay Patients Call for an Appointment





Join the Joint club By Rachel Gray

Special to the Journal

Recently, Northside reached Cobb County by opening the East Cobb Medical Campus in the Woodlawn Commons Medical Center on the west side of Johnson Ferry Road. The center offers MRI exams, digital screening mammography with CAD computer assisted detection, multi-slice CT scans, bone densitometry, digital x-rays and ultrasounds.

Northside Healthcare Delivery System comes to Cobb County By Rachel Gray

One local health care system has advanced its services throughout the region with more than 10,000 employees who complete 700,000 patient visits annually. The Northside Healthcare Delivery System includes three nonprofit hospitals in Canton, Sandy Springs and Cumming, and outpatient clinics in Alpharetta, Holly Springs and Woodstock. Recently, Northside reached Cobb County by opening the East Cobb Medical Campus in the Woodlawn Commons Medical Center on the west side of Johnson Ferry Road. The center offers MRI exams, digital screening mammography with CAD computer assisted detection, multi-slice CT scans, bone densitometry, digital X-rays and ultrasounds. “We are excited to offer Cobb County families the state-of-the-art imaging services for which Northside is known and better serve

their needs,” said Lee Feldpausch, director of radiology services for Northside/ East Cobb Imaging. The state-of-the-art imaging center not only has an extensive array of advanced technology, but the exams are performed by a team of specialty-trained technologists and the results are determined by an onsite, board-certified radiologist. The east Cobb campus also houses a wide variety of physician practices, representing numerous medical specialties including urgent care and family medicine, cardiology, primary care, orthopedics, pediatrics and OB/GYN. Special recognition and programs for Northside

Similar to the East Cobb Medical Campus, Northside also recently opened the Northside-Cherokee Towne Lake Medical Office Building. The new, 100,817-square-foot, four-story space is on Towne Lake Parkway at

Interstate 575 in Woodstock. Next, the health care system will open the Northside Hospital-Cherokee replacement hospital in 2015. Northside’s experienced and board-certified emergency room physicians also see patients at urgent care centers, and the entire Northside system includes cancer care, surgery, maternity, urology and sleep disorder services. Northside Healthcare Delivery System’s specialties have been recognized year after year. Atlanta consumers have voted Northside “Most Preferred Hospital for Overall Healthcare Services” for 16 consecutive years and the hospital is the only Atlanta hospital chosen by the National Cancer Institute to be a Community Cancer Center. The Northside Hospital Cancer Institute in Sandy Springs has qualified for The Fort Washington, Pa.based National Comprehensive Cancer Network Affiliate Research Project.

MARIETTA — A new type of club opened in January and the owner and manager said it will cause a big adjustment for Cobb. On Jan. 16, a new chiropractic office, The Joint, celebrated its grand opening on the corner of Powers Ferry and Terrell Mill roads by offering free adjustments and massages to first-time visitors. Dyas Tucker said he has been a practicing chiroStaff/Jeff Stanton practor in Cobb since 1995, Lee Penland, left, owner of The Joint, with Dr. Dyas Tucker at the when he moved from Misnew location on Terrell Road in Marietta. sissippi to earn his degree from LIFE University, a treatments can be an alterna- sultation and an exam. The private school in Marietta tive approach to health care first visit could take up to 20 best known for its doctoral for a better quality of life. minutes, Tucker said. degree program in chiroTucker said it can do more Tucker said after a treatpractic medicine. than just relieve pain, it can ment there is a release of Tucker will be adminbe preventative. hormones, so “you may feel istering treatments while The Joint promotes visits a little lighter after the first running The Joint, which he as more about “maintenance adjustment.” said has a unique business care,” Tucker said. Each follow-up appointmodel that will likely change “When you free up the ment can take as little as 5 the industry. joints in your back and neck, minutes, making it conveThe Joint is the first you relieve the body’s nernient for those on a break membership-based chirovous and endocrine systems,” from work, said the owner practic clinic. Tucker said. Lee Penland. The space Penland has owned a does not feel local Massage Envy clinic, The Joint like a tradimembership also part of a national chain, tional docTo push for more than six years. The tor’s office that conMassage Envy is a much with exam sistency in larger operation, with 24 This is the future of rooms and visits, the therapists serving 1,700 chiropractic care. white coats. nationwide members at his Windy Hill Instead, The chain is Road location. Joint has an making The Joint has 190 loca— Lee Penland, open area chiropractic tions across the nation and owner of The Joint with a few alignments 30 in the Atlanta area, Penportable padmore affordland said. ded chiroable and The club aspect is practic tables convenient. emphasized with payment and massage The options that include a chairs, with staff dressed in Joint does not take medical monthly plan for $49 that blue-gray uniforms, similar insurance, no appointments entitles a client to four visto a spa. are necessary and the staff its a month. There are also The newest location is is always accepting new family plans with more disin the Terrell Mill Village clients. counts. Center next to LA Fitness, Patients are treated as Penland said a patient’s which Tucker said he hopes walk-ins, with the local spot medical information is will attract patrons going to open Monday through Fristored on a plastic card, simand from the gym. day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. ilar to discount cards from Tucker said chiropractic and Saturday from 10 a.m. pharmacies and grocery care fits into a routine for to 4 p.m. stores, which is scanned people “who want to achieve The initial appointment when a client stops in. a certain goal.” will educate the new clients, “This is the future of chiConsistent chiropractic including paperwork, conropractic care,” said Penland.

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MORE THAN SKIN DEEP Learn how to spot the signs of skin cancer By Kathy Goldsberry

Beach parties, lazy days at the pool, barbecues, picnics in the park, outdoor concerts. This is what summer fun means to many Americans. Getting that summer sun-kissed, bronze skin is often a point of pride and a sign of beauty and vigor for adults. But dermatologists are alarmed about the increasing rate of skin cancers in the U.S. Increased exposure to the sun directly correlates to an increased risk for skin cancer. Dr. Bob Harper, a dermatologist with Marietta Dermatology & The Skin Cancer Center, said there’s no other type of cancer whose prevalence is increasing more rapidly than skin cancer. “From 1970 to 2009, the incidence of melanoma increased by 800 percent among women and 400 percent among men,” Harper said. “More than 3 and a half million skin cancers will be diagnosed in 2 million people just this year. ... There’s no other cancer in humans that has advanced at that accelerated a rate. You would think it’s probably because we are a sunloving, sun-worshipping society and that’s what causes most of these. There are going to be almost 80,000 new cases of melanoma diagnosed in the United States this year. And unfortunately, almost 10,000 people will succumb to their melanoma.” Medical communities are calling this an epidemic. But what exactly is skin cancer? Skin cancer refers to any cancer that begins in skin cells. Most cases are caused by overexposure to UV rays from the sun or tanning beds. Treatment generally consists of surgical removal of cancerous cells. More aggressive and deadly types of cancer, such as malignant melanoma, are treated with a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Skin anatomy Understanding skin anatomy is important to understanding skin cancer. Skin is a complex organ consisting of not just skin, but also hair follicles and sweat glands. It’s divided into two layers: An upper, thinner layer called the epidermis and a deeper, thicker layer

called the dermis. Most ill effects from the sun take place in the epidermis because this layer is most exposed to sunlight and it takes a direct hit, leading to injury of the epidermis. There are three types of skin cancer: Basal cell, squamous cell and melanoma. Basal cell skin cancer At the base of the border between the epidermis and the dermis sits the basal cells. These cuboidal cells lie at the base of the epidermis. As they migrate upward toward the surface, they flatten and mature into squamous cells. When they reach the top, they die and create a dry surface layer. Harper said he thinks of this as our plate of armor. This plate of armor is our first line of defense against germs and pathogens, and it helps prevent too much water loss. Skin also provides insulation, temperature regulation and sensation. When a basal cell gets injured enough by sun damage, it turns into a basal cell skin cancer or basal cell carcinoma. Basal cell skin cancer is the most common type of skin cancer. While it rarely kills, basal cell skin cancer can cause disfigurement. According to the National Institutes of Health, about 80 percent of basal cell skin cancers occur on the head and neck, with the rest mainly on the trunk and lower limbs, particularly in women. Basal cell skin cancer spots are shiny or pearly on the edge, Harper said. Crusting and bleeding in the center can frequently develop. Squamous cell skin cancer Squamous cell skin cancer develops the same way basal cell skin cancer does, but it occurs in squamous cells. Its spots are often red and scaly. They can also have hard nodules and frequently look dome or horn-shaped. Often times, these areas bleed and fail to heal. Squamous cell cancer is the second most common skin cancer, but it is not nearly as dangerous as melanoma. Malignant melanoma Malignant melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer. “These are the big boys — the most serious,” Harper said. In the basal layer, about every 8th or 10th cell is not a basal cell,

but a sun tan cell. A sun tan cell is called a melanocyte. When a melanocyte becomes cancerous, it’s melanoma. “Melanocytes make that color that we call a tan,” Harper said. “Technically the chemical is called melanin, but that’s what gives your skin a brown color when you’re out in sunlight. But these little melanocytes will only activate and generate that brown color if they get injured. So a tan is actually a sign of injury. Our society — our culture — thinks of a tan as being nice, sporty, outdoorsy, vigorous, maybe even quote ‘healthy.’ It’s become a symbol of summertime to come back from the beach with a tan. But it actually happens only because these little melanocytes are getting injured.” According the American Family Physician group, malignant melanoma is responsible for 75 percent of all skin-cancer related deaths. “When I went into practice in the early 1980s, your life chance of having melanoma was about 1 in 250, 270, something like that,” Harper said. “That was what we thought was a very large chance — an unacceptably large chance.” In 2000, the rate jumped to 1 in 75 and in 2010 the rate was 1 in 50, Harper said. ABC’s of spotting malignant melanoma Suspicious spots and moles on the body that might be malignant melanomas can be spotted using the mnemonic “ABCDE.” A stands for asymmetric, B stands for border, C stands for

See Signs, 6C

Staff/Kelly J. Huff

Above: Lisa Cole of Acworth prepares to apply a layer of sunscreen to her son Landon, 7, before he starts his afternoon playing in the sun and waters of Lake Allatoona in July. The family has been coming to the beach all summer and sun screen is always with them and applied. Below left: Basal cell skin cancer. Below center: Squamous cell skin cancer is characterized by a red and/or scaly appearance. Below right: Malignant melanoma.

Photos courtesy of Marietta Dermatology & The Skin Cancer Center




WAGING WAR ON SKIN CANCER Dermatologists share tips on preventing, stopping the cancer By Kathy Goldsberry

It’s time to get serious about skin cancer. Skin cancer is a preventable disease. Knowing the risks and how to prevent it can mean the difference between life and death. By taking steps to protect yourself from the sun, you can also help keep your skin healthy and reduce signs of aging. Who is at risk of skin cancer? According to Bob Harper, a dermatologist at Marietta Dermatology & The Skin Cancer Center, the answer is everyone. Everyone has skin and melanocytes that produce the protective skindarkening pigment called melanin. Both suntans and post-inflammatory pigmentation result from the overproduction of melanin. But some people have an increased risk of skin cancer. They include fair-skinned individuals, those who have multiple moles, people older than 30, those who have a family history of skin cancer and people who had numerous sunburns in their youth. “The primary risk factor for skin cancer is exposure to ultraviolet light, including sunlight, sunlamps and tanning beds,” said Daniel Kellman, clinical director of naturopathic medicine with Cancer Treatment Centers

of America at Southeastern Regional Medical Center in Newnan. “The greater exposure, the greater the risk. Skin cancer is more common where the sun is strong, such as in the South. People who have had at least one severe (blistering) sunburn, frequent sunburns as a child, or used sunlamps or tanning beds before age 30, are also at increased risk.” Yet, it’s never too late to protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun. Avoidance Avoiding the sun and tanning beds is an ideal way to reduce the risk of skin cancer. The sun is especially intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Tanning beds are an absolute no-no, Harper said. “Tanning beds are nothing but cancer machines,” he said. However, it’s not always possible to stay out of doors, so protection is key. Protection Protecting your skin can be as simple as covering up with clothing. Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses. Dark colors generally provide more protection than light colors. When exposure to sun is unavoidable, sunscreen is imperative. Those who do not consider themselves sunbathers will still need to

use sunscreen on frequently exposed parts of the body such as the face, head, neck, hands, arms and chest. What should consumers look for in a sunscreen? Harper said a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 is sufficient enough to protect against most harmful rays. A 30 protects against almost 100 percent of the sun’s harmful rays and a higher strength SPF isn’t usually necessary. “To go to numbers higher than that doesn’t improve it a lot,” Harper said. “Maybe a tiny bit, but a 30 is ample protection for most people.” Another quality to seek when choosing a sunscreen is its substantivity, Harper said. “It simply means it sticks on if you get hot and sweaty,” Harper said. “So look at the bottom and make sure it says it’s water resistant. We can no longer use the term ‘water proof.’ The FDA has ruled against that and they weren’t really water proof in the first place. Water resistant (means) they bind to the proteins in your skin. They help if you get a little hot and sweaty.” It is also important to use a sunscreen with broad spectrum. This means that it protects not only against the ultraviolet A light but against the more harmful B light. Both UVB and UVA light causes injury. For sunscreens that you

purchased long ago, make sure to keep an eye on the expiration date. Sunscreens can expire and those that have surpassed their date will need to be replaced. Certain areas of the body are commonly missed during sunscreen application such as the feet, hands, ears, behind the knees, scalp, eyelids and the back of the neck. Lips are also commonly forgotten and should be protected with a balm that has an SPF of at least 30. In applying sunscreen, make sure to rub it on at least 20 minutes before going outside. After two hours, apply sunscreen again because it degrades over time. For women who wear makeup, many foundations now contain SPF. Women who wear foundation should seek one with an SPF of 30. If they can’t find one that suits them, many dermatologists’ offices sell powders and creams with an SPF that can be applied either over or under makeup. Marietta Dermatology & The Skin Cancer Center sells a powder that can be repeatedly applied over makeup throughout the day. Surveillance A third important part in reducing the risk for skin cancer is surveillance. It’s important to know

your body and be aware of any new moles that have cropped up. Be thorough and look at all parts of your body. “If you’re looking at yourself, look everywhere,” Harper said. Skin cancer lesions can appear on areas of the body that receive little to no sunlight such as the bottom of feet, hands and even between the buttocks. Harper recommends fullbody scans by a licensed dermatologist every year, especially for people older than 30. “This year more than ever we have a good reason to recommend that,” Harper said. “Last year, it was published in the medical literature, for the first time, a conclusive study that showed people who get an annual full scan exam by their dermatologist or dermatology PA - those people cut their chance of death from melanoma in half. That’s significant.” Suspicious lesions are asymmetrical, dark, have irregular borders, variation in color and are usually larger than the head of an eraser. If a spot looks suspicious, get it checked by a doctor immediately. A dermatologist will biopsy the lesion and have it analyzed. For more information about skin cancer risks,

TIPS Avoid the sun: Especially between peak hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. And never go to tanning beds. Cover up: Wear longsleeved shirts, pants, wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses. Sunscreen: Use a sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 30, is water resistant and protects against both UVA and UVB light. Make sure to rub it on at least 20 minutes before going outside. Surveillance: Know your body and look for any new moles. Be thorough and look at all parts of your body, even the bottoms of feet, hands and between the buttocks. Cancerous lesions can form anywhere. Get it checked out: Full-body scans are recommended at least once a year, especially for people older than 30. If you see a lesion you think is suspicious, make an appointment to see your dermatologist. Don’t ignore your suspicions. signs, symptoms and treatments, visit the Cancer Treatment Centers of America at www.

Cutting-edge technology, sophisticated surgery can help save skin

Dermatologists in Marietta are fighting skin cancer with the use of cutting-edge technology in both diagnosis and treatment of the disease. Marietta Dermatology & The Skin Cancer Center is the first practice in Georgia to help diagnose patients with a new device called MelaFind. MelaFind According to Dr. Elizabeth Richwine, MelaFind is a noninvasive hand-held scanning device that uses 10 different light wavelengths to help determine whether a mole needs to be biopsied or watched for further changes. Traditionally, dermatologists would have to cut into any suspicious lesions for a biopsy and submit it for analysis. Among the first of its kind, MelaFind is able to identify more precisely which lesions are in need of further analysis and thereby avoid some unnecessary biopsies. “The dermatologist does the full-scale exam, and we visually identify moles that meet some of the criteria for being suspicious,” said Richwine, who has been practicing at Marietta Dermatology for three years. “And then we can scan those moles with MelaFind. ... Once it scans it — which is painless, there’s no scarring involved — it creates a sort of a composite picture. And it will tell the physician if the cells in the mole are disorganized. And they will rate it as low disorganized or high. When you get moles that are highly disorganized, and they believe that the pattern in the skin is irregular, that will drive a dermatologist to decide to biopsy it. It doesn’t necessarily say this is cancerous or not cancerous, it just says something is very irregular about this mole and usually it warrants a biopsy.” High disorganization

Signs From 5C color, D stands for diameter and E stands for evolving. Harper said E should also stand for extremely dark. These dangerous moles are often black in color. “A black spot that

Reconstruction Once the Mohs surgeon has completed treatment, a reconstructive surgeon will then begin the process of rebuilding the patient’s pre-surgery appearance. According to Yellin, reconstruction may require more than one procedure to achieve the best results. “If the Mohs surgeon feels that the defect will be the type of defect that warrants my skills, we see them pre-operatively before anyone ever touches them,” said Yellin, who was director of the Emory Facial Center and Chief of Facial Plastic Surgery at Emory Healthcare for more than 12 years. “Some of the procedures I perform are routinely three-stage procedures, where you bring in attached tissue from either the cheek or the forehead to reconstruct the nose and it stays connected with like a bridge and that bridge is there for three weeks in nonsmokers and four weeks in smokers. Then we bring them back a second time and take the bridge down and make things look reasonably normal. Then three to four months later, we will do contouring procedure.” Reconstructive skin cancer surgeries can be done with skin flaps and skin grafts. For a skin graft, a surgeon removes skin from

one area of the body and relocates it to the wound site. They should be used for this type of surgery only as a last resort, if the affected area is too large to be covered using a flap, Yellin said. “A flap is when you move tissue from one spot to another and leave it attached to it’s current blood supply,” Yellin said. “Then you place it into the defect to allow the local tissue in the defect to grow into the moved tissue and then you go and you clip the blood supply from the original site. ... A flap requires much more creative thinking.” Flaps are common and often look better than skin grafts. But the simplest way to repair a surgical wound is primary closure. This procedure closes the wound from side to side with sutures. Reconstructive skin cancer procedures today often result in minimal scarring and color variation. With skin flaps, a suture line is positioned to follow the natural creases of the face to minimize the appearance of a resulting scar. Recovery typically takes about two weeks, Yellin said. However, it usually takes a full year for the area to completely heal. “Here it’s under one roof,” Yellin said. “We have surveillance, diagnosis, treatment and reconstruction, so it really is a nice vertically integrated skin cancer center that we’ve created.” For more information about Mohs surgery, visit the American Academy of Dermatology website at and the American College of Mohs Surgery website at Also visit cancer.wellstar. org for information about skin cancer treatment at Kennestone Hospital. Find out more about Marietta Dermatology & The Skin Cancer Center and MelaFind, visit

If any of these features are present in a mole that has recently appeared on the skin, the person should immediately get it checked by a dermatologist. If the doctor thinks the mole is suspicious, he or she will have it biopsied and sent for analysis. Most skin cancers spread slowly

and are treatable and curable when caught early. “Early detection is the name of the game,” Harper said. But by being aware of suspicious moles and visiting a dermatologist, people can help keep their skin healthy and reduce their risk.

“You can remove thin layers and really preserve as much normal tissue as possible (with Mohs surgery),” Yellin said. “When it comes to reconstruction, I can tell you the more normal tissue that is preserved, many times, the easier the reconstruction. It does provide me an advantage, it provides the patient an advantage and it gives the patient and myself the confidence level that the skin cancer is removed.” Other forms of skin cancer treatment include excision, cryosurgery, electrodesiccation, curettage, laser surgery and dermabrasion.

By Kathy Goldsberry

Staff/Kelly J. Huff

Dr. Elizabeth Richwine, left, and Dr. Mark Knautz of Marietta Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center and stand with a new device called MelaFind. MelaFind is a noninvasive hand-held scanning device that uses 10 different light wavelengths to help determine whether a mole needs to be biopsied or watched for further changes. means the mole has patterns similar to that of melanoma and should be considered for biopsy. Low disorganization means that the mole has benign patterns and might not need to be biopsied. MelaFind looks as deep as 2.5 millimeters into the skin, Richwine said. Skin cancers are categorized into three types: Basal cell, squamous cell and malignant melanoma. MelaFind looks for atypical and/ or precancerous cells and melanoma. It does not look for basal cell or squamous cell cancers. “It’s just nice to have that additional information. ... This helps us decide which can be watched and which truly need to be removed and checked in the pathology lab.” Richwine said. Like all cancers, the survival rate of skin cancer is highly contingent on early diagnosis. MelaFind, in combination with yearly fullbody scans, can help catch

melanomas early. “All skin cancers, no matter what they are — whether it be a basal cell, squamous cell or melanoma — if we catch them early, the cure rate is phenomenal,” said Dr. Mark Knautz, a dermatologist with Marietta Dermatology & The Skin Cancer Center. “(MelaFind has) been in the literature, and I know that the doctors who developed it have been working on it for a long time, and I was excited when it was finally available.” Although it is FDA approved, MelaFind scans are not currently covered by insurance. Mohs surgery Beyond diagnosis, sophisticated treatment can beat back skin cancer with reconstructive surgery helping patients return to social engagements with no self-consciousness. At Marietta Dermatology, Mohs surgeon Dr. Jared

Friedman along with facial plastic surgeon Dr. Seth Yellin assist patients through treatment and reconstruction. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, Mohs surgery is currently the most successful treatment for basal and squamous skin cancers available today. It is usually reserved for anatomical areas such as the face where normal tissue preservation is of special importance. During Mohs surgery, after each removal of tissue, while the patient waits, a pathologist examines the tissue specimen for cancer cells, which informs the surgeon where to remove tissue next. Beneath the skin, the cancerous cells cover a much larger region and there are no defined borders. Mohs surgery has the highest cure rate of any treatments for skin cancer, up to 99 percent for basal and squamous skin cancer. It is usually performed under local anesthesia.

sticks around that’s very, very uncharacteristically dark from the rest of your moles — get it checked,” Harper said, adding that melanomas can occur anywhere on the body. “Sometimes we refer to it as the ugly duckling sign — it just stands out from the rest of your moles.”

A malignant melanoma will appear asymmetrical. In contrast, a normal mole will be more evenly round or oval shaped. The border of a malignant melanoma will appear irregular and jagged. A mole that is more than one color is also

suspicious. Normal spots are usually one hue. The diameter should be no larger than the head of a pencil eraser or one-quarter of an inch. If a mole evolves or changes shape over time, this is also suspicious and calls for a doctor’s appointment.





"Attention Sciatica And Low Back Pain Sufferers……" Could One Hour With Our Doctors Give You The Answer To Your Disc Pain? Now, in Acworth, GA, Dr. Erin Arnold, D.C. & Dr. Amy Valente, D.C. have what may be the most important breakthrough in non-surgical back pain treatment. Before and after MRI studies have shown disc bulges shrink in size - even with the most painful cases of L4-L5 & L5-S1 herniations. If you've had disc problems for years, recently injured your back, or you're suffering with sciatica, you must hear about these new studies. Scientific studies tell us that spinal discs are responsible for most of the aches and pains people suffer from. Discs act like a cushion between our backbones and allow for a space at each level so the nerves can exit the spinal column. When these discs get injured or wear out from bad posture, they begin to degenerate and cause pain. Bulging and herniations begin to form, pressing on the nerve roots. If the herniations occur at L4-L5, they can severely compromise the large sciatic nerve, causing muscle weakness, tingling, and severe pain. The most common invasive treatment for disc herniations is surgery. This costs quite a bit of money. Even with health insurance the patient is left with their own portion of the bill, in excess of $10,000-$15,000, and sometimes more. The recovery time and missed work can be anywhere from 3 to 6 months, not to mention the obvious severe risks associated with all surgery. But here's the biggest problem… there is a high failure rate of back surgery. One medical study found that on average, 53% of L5-S1 back surgeries fail to produce relief of symptoms (International Orthop 1987.) Before You Go Under The Knife And Opt For Spinal Surgery… You should seriously consider a less invasive approach called spinal decompression. Non-surgical spinal decompression is a new technology that has been proven to reverse disc herniations. It creates a vacuum effect on the disc, which pulls the disc back into its normal position and brings in a fresh blood supply to promote healing. Do You Have A Disc Problem? If you experience any of the following in your back or neck, chances are your pain is due to a disc bulge, herniation or degeneration: • A vice-like squeezing feeling in your back • Sitting causes back or leg pain • Stabbing pain at the belt line or in your neck • Can't turn over in bed without hurting • Numbness in your toes or fingers • Fire down your legs • Searing pain radiates into your arm • Prickling in your leg or toes Finally, Some Good News…… If you've been suffering with back pain or arm/leg pain caused by a disc bulge, disc herniation or squashed or compressed discs. Until recently, the only advice for many of you suffering in pain was to try what you've been told: Try exercising Try physical therapy Try pain medications Try muscle relaxers Try pain shots Try dangerous back surgery Just live with it If you're like most, none of these have worked for you or you are afraid of what could happen if you do try some

of these. Exercising makes you hurt more, pain medications and muscle relaxers cover up the problem and give you side effects. Pain shots can cause more pain, don't work or don't last very long or FIX the problem, back surgery didn't work, or made you worse. Or maybe you were one of the lucky ones that back surgery actually helped, but now the problem is back with a vengeance.

Caution! Decompression is DIFFERENT than old time traction or hanging upside down or inversion machines which can make your muscles squeeze the discs even harder! Whatever your situation, you owe it to yourself to check into a Breakthrough Computerized Non-Surgical Treatment for back pain and sciatic or leg pain caused by a bulging, herniated or squashed disc or discs. It has helped hundreds of people who were suffering just like you. This new treatment machine we are calling "the squashed disc machine." How "Good" Discs become "Bad" Discs Over time the discs in your back tend to get squashed or compressed, especially if you've played certain sports when younger or have a job that requires lots of sitting or standing in one place for long periods of time. Car accidents, lifting things, very physical jobs just to name a few. It's kind of like a cookie with cream filling, and the cream filling will start to ooze out from between the sides of the cookie if pressure is applied on top of the cookie (like gravity on our spines). Eventually this happens to a lot of us. Statistics show over 80% of Americans will suffer with back pain some time in their life. Spinal decompression treatments are very gentle. In fact, every once in a while I even catch a patient sleeping during treatment! How Does This Machine Work? Haven't you ever had the thought…"Gosh, if somebody could just pull me apart…I would feel a whole lot better." Yeah, we know you have. And it kind of makes a bit of sense. Well someone else, actually a medical manufacturer, back pain specialists, neurosurgeons and engineers have come up with just that. A machine that gently pulls your apart, stretches the disc to a certain point that causes a drop in pressure inside the disc (like a little vacuum in the middle of the cream filling) causing the cream filling to suck back in! You'll simply lie on your stomach or back, whichever is comfortable, and then a specialized belt is gently put around your waist. We'll set the machine to focus on your problem area - then the advanced decompression computer system will do the rest. Most patients feel better with just a few treatments, and best of all there will be no dangerous drugs, no invasive procedures, and no painful exercises. Does Decompression really work? Absolutely! When you come in we

will provide you with studies that show why decompression is a preferred method of treatment. But what provides the best "proof" on how well decompression works is what patients say about it: Just Listen to What Our Patients Had to Say "I came into the office with neck, low back and knee pain. I had been suffering with this pain for 33 years. The pain had gotten so bad I could hardly move. When I came to the office my neck pain was a 9 on a 110 scale (10 being the worse) and now is a 0. My back pain was a 10/10 and is now a 1. I am so happy with the success I have had with my treatment. I now have more self approval and I am more confident." Thank you, Dennis Duckworth I came into NCSN because I had low back pain and weakness extending down my legs with limited range of motion. I was in extreme pain. Spinal decompression has made my pain level decrease and my range of motion increase. I can now bend over, twist my torso, and walk without being hunched over. I am more active with my family and my wife loves that I can help with household chores now! I cannot say enough good things about the care I've received and everyone is so professional, friendly, and caring. I feel 100% better after 10 treatments, I look forward to feeling 200% better after 20 treatments. Thank you, Joel Scheppler Before I started getting spinal decompression therapy I was having severe pain in my low back and numbness down my leg constantly. I had been suffering with this for 3 years. I had two nerve abrasions, multiple steroid shots in my back, pain killers, PT and water therapy and nothing worked. After the first spinal decompression treatment I could stand up straight with very little pain. I can now sleep through the night and exercise again. I am 90-100% better and I am so thankful I found this office. Thanks, John Ratledge I started at North Cobb Spine & Nerve Institute for pain in my lower back that traveled down my leg. The pain felt like a burning sensation down my leg and numbness into my toes. I was unable to walk my normal 5 miles. Since starting the spinal decompression therapy I am now able to walk again without any pain. The pain and numbness down my right leg is completely alleviated. I was surprised to find that I am even sleeping better at night and that the tension in my upper back has also been relieved. The staff here has treated me great and is very caring! Thanks, Bill Norman I sought out care at North Cobb Spine & Nerve Institute for the pain and stiffness in my neck. The pain had been bothering me for about 4 months. I was unable to turn my head from side to side, which made driving difficult. Before seeking treatment I had tried multiple muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatory medications. Since starting my care I have improved 100%. The pain in my neck is gone and I am now able to turn my head with no pain. What surprised me the most was that I have also had fewer headaches. The staff here has treated me great and always shows genuine concern about my well-being. Thank you, Diana Toy As you can see, spinal decompression has a high success rate with helping disc herniations, sciatica, and back pain. In just a matter of weeks you could be back on the golf course, enjoying your love life, or traveling again.

Dr. Amy Valente For those suffering with a herniated lumbar disc, a non-surgical, drugless solution is helping patients be pain free.

Feel the Improvement - and Say "Yes" to Life Again With my "Decompression Evaluation" we'll be able to find the problem and then get to work on it. Think of how you'll feel in just a few short weeks. See and feel your life change for the better. Start your body on the way to pain-free, normal living, feel tight joints rest, relax, free up, muscles tied in knots will become more supple and strength in your muscles may increase. You're able to live life like a normal person again, without back pain - able to play with your kids, enjoy time with friends, and finally get a good night's rest. The Single Most Important Solution to Your Sciatica and Back Pain It's time for you to find out if spinal decompression will be your sciatic and back pain solution. For 15 days only, we're running a very special offer where you can find out if you are a candidate for spinal decompression. What Does This Offer Include? Everything we normally do in our new patient evaluation. Just call before March 17th and here's what you'll get… • An in-depth consultation about your health and well-being where the doctor will listen…really listen…to the details of your case. • A complete neuromuscular examination. • A full set of specialized x-rays to determine if a spinal problem is contributing to your pain or symptoms. • A thorough analysis of your exam and x-ray findings so we can start mapping out your plan to being pain free. • An extensive review of your MRI. • You'll get to see everything first hand and find out if this amazing treatment will be your pain solution, like is has been for so many other patients. Until March 17th you can get everything listed here for $20. The normal price for this type of evaluation including x-rays is $250, so you're saving a considerable amount by taking us up on this offer. Here's What To Do Now: Due to the expected demand for this treatment, we suggest calling our office at once at 678-574-5678.

CALL TODAY! (678)-574-5678 North Cobb Spine & Nerve Institute 3451 Cobb Pkwy Ste#4 Acworth, GA 30101







‘Best of care’ in Cobb 5-star rating brings top end-of-life services to residents in the county Marty Hohmann Special to the MDJ


very day, families make crucial decisions about where their loved ones will receive end-oflife care and it can be the hardest decision they ever have to make.

Even the mention of “nursing homes” can bring a negative reaction, and that shouldn’t be surprising. There have been no shortage of reports documenting nursing homes in disrepair, residents receiving substandard care and a pattern of general neglect. But, on the opposite end of the spectrum, many nursing homes are achieving the gold standard for care in the industry. A.G. Rhodes Health and Rehab is one example of the new model of nursing home care. The company has been serving the aging community since 1904 and operates three facilities in the metro Atlanta area, one of which is in Marietta. All three homes have received 5-star quality ratings. A.G. Rhodes of Cobb on Wylie Road is under the leadership of Angela Daugherty, a veteran of the skilled nursing field since 1998. She became administrator in 2008. The facility was built in 1992 and has 180 employees serving up to 130 residents at any given time. They offer inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation for those who may need assistance due to

a temporary or permanent disability, short-term recovery, and long-term residency needs. A 5-star rating is a significant recognition in the industry. The statewide average is 3.06 and the national average is 3.35 quality star ratings. In December 2008, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services began its 5-Star Rating Program for skilled nursing care centers. The rating system uses information from health care surveys, quality measures, and nursing home staff. Three facilities in Cobb earned the rating. They are Manorcare Rehabilitation Center on Johnson Ferry Place in Marietta, Presbyterian Village on the EastWest Connector in Austell and A.G. Rhodes of Cobb in Marietta. Daugherty said hers is a very special job in a very special place. “A.G. Rhodes stands apart from other facilities because the company has always realized the importance of taking care of the staff who take care of our residents,” she said. “Resident care comes above all else, and this is not just a philosophy that is presented from the top down. Our staff sacrifice if necessary so that our residents continue to receive the best of care.” She adds, “Unlike other long-term care companies, our staff, regardless of their position, view their job with A.G. Rhodes as a career, not just a place to work. When employees treat each other like family, they are going to treat our residents like family. A.G. Rhodes has never placed a

Special to the MDJ

John Abel, music therapist at A.G. Rhodes of Cobb, performs for residents. priority on the bottom line; therefore the ultimate goal of providing excellent care is achieved. This mentality of having a commitment to excellence contributes to our 5-star quality rating.” She says her employees have an average tenure of 6.3 years, and there are some direct care staff who have worked at A.G. Rhodes for more than 20 years. Those factors and more contribute to making A.G. Rhodes of Cobb a representative of the new model of skilled nursing facility, bucking the stereotypes. “We try and break that stereotype every day,” she says. “From the moment you walk in our building, we make you feel comfortable. We take great pride in keeping the facility meticulously maintained, and we strive to provide an environment, from the

lights to the decor to the garden area, that will make people feel at home, whether they’re here for a temporary stay or longer.” Residents at the facility can expect as active and social an experience as they desire with an emphasis on including the entire family in events. “We have events and outings going on all throughout the day because we think it’s so important that our residents have a variety of choices of different activities that they can take part in,” Daugherty said. “Popcorn socials, religious services, restaurant outings, trivia, music activities, cooking club, gardening and more — there really is something for everyone. When residents come to stay with us, we talk with them and their families about their interests because we want to

5-STAR QUALITY Three nursing homes in Cobb County have earned the coveted 5-star quality rating:  Manorcare Rehabilitation Center on Johnson Ferry Place in Marietta  Presbyterian Village on the East-West Connector in Austell  A.G. Rhodes of Cobb on Wylie Road in Marietta tailor the activities we offer to what they enjoy doing, and we’ll add activities and frequently change up the calendar so that we’re offering a good variety.” And while social activities are important, Daugherty recognizes that the decision of where a loved one should receive specialty care is of utmost importance. “We strive to offer the

best and most distinctive therapy and programming available. We have stateof-the-art therapy and rehabilitation services and our therapists are all in-house, which is unique because many nursing homes contract these services out. By employing our in-house therapists, we are able to provide a continuity of care

See Care, 14CC




Olde Towne, new academy East Cobb tennis club changes ownership, opens new academy By Adam Carrington

By Adam Carrington

After making changes in ownership, Olde Towne Athletic Club is now running a new tennis academy. ATP Tour professional Robby Ginepri, a U.S. Open semifinalist in 2005 and once ranked No. 15 in the world, and his father, Rene, are still co-owners of the club. But as of last summer, tennis teaching professionals Jason Parker and Julius Robberts joined in on the ownership and the Ginepris parted ways with former co-owner Jerry

Tennis Clubs Chattahoochee Plantation Tennis Club One Chattahoochee Plantation Drive Marietta, GA 30067 Fair Oaks Tennis Center 1460 West Booth Road Ext. SW Marietta, GA 30008 Wayne Miller (770) 528-8480

Baskin, who is now running the Baskin McGill Academy out of East Cobb Swim and Tennis. Shortly after Parker and Robberts became owners last June, the foursome helped launch Ginepri Performance Tennis last September. Ginepri, who is also pursuing a comeback in professional tennis after taking time off to recover from nagging injuries, is involved, serving as Director of Tennis Programing. Robberts and Parker do much of the coaching with Robberts serving as Director of Tennis and Parker the Director of Player Development. “Once we took over (ownership), it really gave us an opportunity to put together a vision and plan for the tennis academy going forward,” said Robberts, who was ranked the No. 1 singles and doubles player in South Africa in 1994. “Some of the things we talk about is developing players and putting together programs where kids can also experience yoga, off-court training and skills training.”

Harrison Park Tennis Center 2653 Shallowford Rd Marietta, GA 30066 Steve Lottinger (770) 591-3151 Kennworth Tennis Center 3900 South Main Street NW Acworth, GA 30101 Mark Kirk (770) 917-5160

The Ginepri Performance Tennis provides

Staff/Kelly J. Huff

Above: Tennis students of Ginepri Performance Tennis at the Olde Town Athletic Club, work on their basic skills under the direction of 10 & under instructor Richie Martin. Students pictured from left are Amelia Deisen, 6, McWhirter Robberts, 4, Jake Mong, 6, and his sister, Aidan, 6. plenty of drills and instruction but players get their fair share of speedand-agility training, mental skills training, yoga, video analysis, coaching on-site at 10 junior tournaments and up to four hours of match play and private lessons. “I don’t think you can pinpoint one thing, we focus on every day doing the little things,” Robby Ginepri said. “There are a lot of things that go into success. We have a lot of fitness training and strength training. There are a lot of different aspects of winning and being the best player.” In helping to develop junior players, Robby Ginepri’s connections to ATP tennis has helped Olde Towne lure a coaching staff who has either been a competing player or coach in the

professional ranks. Coach Travis Rettenmaier was once ranked 57 in the world in doubles and specializes in that area. Edina Gallovits, who was ranked as high as No. 54 in the WTA, is also on staff, along with experienced ATP coach Joseph O’Dwyer. Richie Martin is an ATP-certified coach who helps with the 10-and-under program. Also on staff is Phillip Beard, a former NCCAA All-American at Emmanuel College, and John Shults, who played at Middle Tennessee State. “The most important thing about ownership is to bring in the right staff and make sure we bring in very, very talented and passionate people to help us here,” said Parker, who coached current WTA player Jamie Hampton for 11 years and holds the all-time winning

percentage in singles at the College of Charleston. “We were cautious about that and took our time to bring in the right people, and now we are ecstatic.” For the Home School program, Parker and Robberts have also discussed forming what they call An Individualized Program, which is supposed to focus on the specific schedule and

needs of each junior player. Olde Towne also has a college recruiting consultant, Dale Short, a retired Middle Tennessee State coach, to help high school-aged players get ready for college. He aids the coaches in organizing recruiting videos to send to college scouts, many of them from Division I, and to arrange scouts to visit Olde Towne.

Laurel Park 151 Manning Rd SW Marietta, GA 30064 (770) 919-8602 Lost Mountain Tennis Center 4845 Dallas Highway Powder Springs , GA 30127 Traci Thomas (770) 528-8525 Olde Towne Athletic Club 4950 Olde Towne Pkwy Julius Robberts, Jason Parker Marietta, GA 30068 Sweetwater Tennis Center 2447 Clay Road Austell, GA 30106 Eddie Gomez (770) 819-3221 Terrell Mill Tennis Center 480 Terrell Mill Road Marietta, GA 30067 Duward Whelchel (770) 644-2771

Above left: Ginepri Performance Tennis at the Olde Town Athletic Club co-owner Julius Robberts works with his daughter, Anelize, 6, during a lesson in Marietta. Above right: Co-owner Jason Parker works with his student, Kennesaw Mountain junior Nicole Croxton, during a lesson in Marietta.

Faith, exercise help woman battle cancer Michael J. Pallerino Special to MDJ

MARIETTA — Cancer free. They are the words survivors cherish — the words that come at the end of a fight that can be both physically and mentally draining. Brookes Horton is a fighter. At 71, the Marietta grandmother not only beat breast cancer but she continues to wage a daily battle against a coronary artery disease brought on as a result of complications from her cancer treatments. So she fights. Five days each week, Horton walks, bikes, swims and goes through her workout paces at Sterling Estates Senior Living community in Marietta. Moving to Sterling Estates took away her stress over the responsibility of running a household. No more fretting over things that could distract her from her

wellness goals. “You have to have the will to live,” Horton said. “And I am a fighter. I want to be here for my children and my grandchildren. I knew I had to do something. Due to my health condition, I knew I needed assistance. It was time for me to make a decision and go where I chose to go without my children having to take on that responsibility. I knew I might need medical assistance if my health declined. I knew that help was at Sterling Estates, my chosen new home.” The hill was a steep one, and Horton knew it. When she moved into Sterling Estates last year, she could barely stand for 10 minutes without getting short-winded. It was more than humbling for the once active golf and tennis enthusiast. Since she felt a lump in her breast and was diagnosed with cancer in 2001, it had been an uphill climb. The cancer.

Open heart surgery. Coronary heart disease. The death of her husband, Tom, in 2009. It had all piled on. But from her first day at Sterling Estates, Christine Walsh, its wellness director, saw a determination in Horton that was unrelenting. They made a pact to push forward together. “Brookes had an acceptance of where she was and where she wanted to be,” Walsh said. “When I explained to her what her heart would allow her to do and what it wouldn’t, she knew where she stood. She told me that she didn’t want to settle for that kind of life.” They started slow, Exercise 101, if you will. Walsh started Horton with some minimal strength training, a little aerobic exercises and some walking. Five minutes. 10. 15. The more she did; the better she felt. She eventually hit the aerobic pool (where she now works out at least two times a week). She

participates in strength and aerobic training five times each week. In five months, Horton had pushed past the shackles her cancer and heart disease put on her. “It’s all about being consistent and persistent,” Horton said. Today, Horton’s workout warrior mentality continues to shine through. She is capable of walking and biking 3 miles. Once a candidate for robotic heart surgery (she received a second opinion when her physical condition ruled out surgery as an option), doctors said she doesn’t need it at the moment because she has shown signs of improvement. In fact, Horton has become such a student of the workout game that Walsh said she could teach the class. But perhaps more important is that, since her diagnosis in 2001, Horton has remained cancer free. “It took a lot of dedication and determination — a lot of

Staff/Jennifer Carter

Sterling Estates Wellness Director Christine Walsh of Atlanta encourages Brookes Horton of Marietta, a resident of Sterling Estates Senior Living Community, during a workout on the stepping blocks. faith — to get to where I am today,” Horton said. “But I knew that I could do it. It was about having a strong faith. And I do. I

have had a lot of support. Sterling Estates has more than changed my life. I have reached goals I never thought possible.”





Staff/Kelly J. Huff

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta CEO Donna Hyland, along with official ribbon cutters and former Marietta patients, Caitlyn Primous, 10, Isaac Konigsmark, 14, and Parker Grelecki, 5, and his father Ryan, cut the official ribbon opening the expansion of the Radiology department at the Children’s at Town Center facility located on Big Shanty Road in Kennesaw.

Children’s opens radiology center Will provide digital X-rays, MRIs, CT scans and ultrasounds

Staff/Kelly J. Huff

WellStar Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Medical Officer Dr. Robert Jansen makes the announcement that WellStar has partnered with the Mayo Clinic Care Network to a packed auditorium at the company’s development center.

By Rachel Gray

The entire staff of Children’s at Town Center has many years of experience working KENNESAW — As in pediatrics, said Jenny supporters of a new Bohn, a CT and MRI pediatric imaging center technician who lives in stood for “The StarMarietta. Spangled Banner,” the soft, Bohn, who has been high-pitched singing of a employed by Children’s “miracle child” rang out Healthcare of Atlanta from the back of the crowd. for 15 years, said she Approximately 200 finds children are more community members, optimistic than adults. families of patients and Donna Molina, another hospital administrators CT and MRI technician gathered outside under a large white tent on Nov. 14 at who will work for Children’s at Town Center, the ribbon-cutting ceremony said the hardest part of for Children’s at Town working in pediatrics is Center, off Big Shanty Road adjusting to the different just east of Interstate 75. One of the ribbon cutters, age groups, but that aspect becomes easier with and proud national anthem experience. singer, Parker Grelecki, Shane Stewart, a CT 5, has been a patient of and MRI team leader at Children’s Healthcare of Children’s at Town Center, Atlanta his said the new entire life. wing is well Atlantadesigned, based DR roomy and Construction inviting. Co. broke He added We are here to fight for ground seven you. There are so many the facility months people at Children’s who has the same of ago on the absolutely live to take level treatment as radiology care of kids. a hospital, wing of the but without Children’s — Donna Hyland, patients at Town CEO of Children’s having Center, Healthcare of Atlanta a long which commute or already being stuck housed in traffic. urgent care For a and sports few years, Wilkerson said medicine offices. Children’s Healthcare of The additional 9,330-square-foot advanced Atlanta wanted to expand into Cobb County. imaging wing opened in “We identified Cobb November with more than as a place we want to be,” 20 pediatric radiologists of said Wilkerson, who added multiple subspecialties for the organization decided newborns to teenagers. last year that it was time Melinda Wilkerson, and moved quickly. the clinical director of radiology and sedation The miracle child for the entire Children’s Children’s Healthcare Healthcare of Atlanta of Atlanta is a nonprofit system, said the project with doctors specializing in cost close to $7 million, patients under age 21. with half the money going The system includes toward equipment in the three hospitals, Children’s new wing. at Egleston in DeKalb Children’s at Town County, Children’s at Center will use low-dose Hughes Spalding in Atlanta radiation digital X-rays, and Children’s at Scottish MRIs, CT scans and Rite in Sandy Springs, as ultrasounds to find bone well as 20 neighborhood fractures or diagnose locations throughout metro serious conditions, which can involve sedating young Atlanta. Cobb County patients who have a hard Commissioner JoAnn time remaining still or are Birrell, who represents claustrophobic. the Town Center area, The new pediatric wing and members from the is open Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Cobb County Chamber of Commerce also attended Saturdays from 7 a.m. to November’s ribbon-cutting. 2 p.m. Ryan Grelecki is part of Children’s Healthcare Meet the team of Atlanta’s newly Donna Hyland, CEO formed group, the Cobb of Children’s Healthcare Community Board. of Atlanta, said although Grelecki said the group the new wing will be filled is dedicated to educating with the latest equipment the Cobb community about and technology, the best the resources Children’s asset of Children’s at Town Healthcare of Atlanta Center is the talent and provides and how to skill of the staff. support the organization. “We are here to fight for For instance, Grelecki you,” Hyland said. “There described his son, Parker, are so many people at as a “miracle child,” Children’s who absolutely who was born with live to take care of kids.” hydrocephalus, also known Hyland said 1,000 as “water on the brain.” employees of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta live See Center, 13CC in Cobb County.

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WellStar partners with Mayo Clinic By Rachel Gray

MARIETTA — WellStar Health System announced last month the nonprofit will add another resource to its expanding health care network. The formal collaboration will make WellStar the largest member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network in the Southeast and the only member in metro Atlanta. Reynold Jennings, president and CEO of WellStar Health System, said the partnership, which has been in the making for 18 months, makes good business sense. The collaboration will allow specialists at WellStar to consult with experts at the Mayo Clinic about diagnosis tests and treatment plans for complex cancer cases. Local physicians will submit a specific question to the Mayo Clinic Care Network with supporting notes, image scans and medical records to get a formal response within two days. Jennings said the collaboration is a “costefficient” way to increase the care offered by WellStar. The Mayo Clinic could also be a best-practice resource on changes to WellStar’s business structure. And, there are plans to open access to the Mayo Clinic’s research, clinical trial information and education tools. WellStar has always been able to refer patients to Mayo clinics, most commonly in Jacksonville, Fla., or Rochester, Minn. Now, the online sharing of knowledge will keep WellStar patients closer to home, without additional

costs for travel. The second opinion from the Mayo Clinic will be free to WellStar patients. Pooja Mishra, who has been the director of oncology operations at WellStar for three years, said the partnership will bring doctors together to evaluate specific cases through “tumor boards.” This type of telecommunication on a unique case is in the best interest of patients, “when they are already going through a very troubling experience,” Mishra said. Network expands with new facilities WellStar’s goal to encircle Cobb County with health parks is one location closer with plans finalized on the latest project off Atlanta Road, south of Smyrna. WellStar Health System will build the WellStar Vinings Health Park, a 162,000-square-foot facility on more than 25 acres at 4441 Atlanta Road, west of Interstate 285 near the EastWest Connector. WellStar closed the deal on the land Nov. 3, 2011, for $11.4 million. Construction of the complex is scheduled to start late this summer and is estimated to cost $68 million, according to Joe Brywczynski, senior vice president of health parks development. Physicians in the threestory building could start seeing patients in late 2015 or early 2016, with offices for medical imaging, lab testing, physical therapy and sports medicine, cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation and a pharmacy, Brywczynski said.

See Mayo, 13CC

Local WellStar doctor leading charge against heart disease By Rachel Gray

MARIETTA — A local doctor with WellStar Health Systems is leading the way in protecting Cobb residents from the nation’s numberone killer — heart disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is responsible for one in four deaths in the United States. Mindy Gentry, a physician certified in cardiovascular disease and internal medicine, splits her time between her office at the WellStar East Cobb Medical Center on Johnson Ferry Road and WellStar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta. Gentry, who was born in Savannah and grew up on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina, was one of the first physicians at WellStar to use the latest advancement in diagnosing heart disease, the Corus CAD test. Coronary artery disease occurs when plaque builds up in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. Gentry said she started administering the test two years ago, and has increased her use of the Corus CAD test for two reasons. It provides proof to assure patients they do not have heart disease. And it helps identify patients with heart concerns who might not otherwise have stood out as having coronary artery disease. “This test allows

some objectivity,” Gentry said. Gentry said a negative result from the Corus CAD test is reliable, which is why she has been answering questions about the medical advancement from WellStar cardiology colleagues and primary care physicians. If the test is negative, it rules out a coronary blockage in a patient with “unclear symptoms,” Gentry said. Just a blood test Patients with symptoms of heart disease are traditionally given a stress test by running on a treadmill or being injected with chemicals, while a sonogram, called an echocardiogram, is taken of the heart. According to the CDC, patients with chest pain undergo extensive testing with high costs. “Despite the significant resources expended, only 10 percent of patients with chest pain are ultimately diagnosed with stable obstructive CAD,” according to a 2005 study called “Diagnosing the Cause of Chest Pain.” A reason Gentry said she likes the Corus CAD test is because a patient is not exposed to radiation. The new diagnostic tool allows physicians to make “the appropriate diagnosis, more accurately, and in more people, with less risk,” Gentry said. The Corus CAD test

See Disease, 13CC




Pipe dream a reality Street League-certified skate plaza opens in Kennesaw, summer skateboarding camps in the works By Carlton D. White

The City of Kennesaw touts the skate park at Swift-Cantrell Park as “40,000 square feet of temptation no skater can deny.” The first and only Street League certified skate plaza east of Denver, Kennesaw SkatePark drew thousands of people to its opening in Nove November be 2013, 0 3, aand d thee crowds haven’t stopped coming since. Open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., the skate park, which was designed by Street League founder Rob Dyrdek and SITE Design Group, has all of the amenities a skater would want. A website, skatekennesaw. com, has been set up to give the community information about the park. “The skate park consists of a Street League-certified skate plaza, and there are a number of features that there is jargon associated with it,” said City of

Kennesaw Recreation Division Manager David Pies. “It has stairs, kickers, hubbas and gap, rails and half-pipes. There are different features like quarter-pipes, ledges and a variety of other features.” Pies said the skate plaza is modeled after the 2012 Street League finals course from the Street League Tour. “That particular plaza that was set up in an arena in Kansas City y was replip cated in this design, which makes it really unique,” Pies said.

“There’s also a traditional bowl, and there’s a flow bowl or flow course that starts at a depth of 4 ½ feet that waterfalls to a 6-foot depth, a 9-foot depth and there are transitions. It’s kind of a snake-like bowl. “So, there are different elements, and it’s designed to accommodate both beginner skaters and experienced skateboarders. There’s plenty of diversity in the design g to accommodate skaters of all levels and we do require skaters 15 and under to wear helmets.” “It is our understanding that we are one of the largest skate parks in the Southeast because there could be some private park just as big.” Just before the park opened in November, Mayor Mark Mathews said the city of Kennesaw expected skaters from all over the county to flood the park to practice for and compete in qualifying tournaments for competitions. “It’s the only park like this for 300 miles; it’s going to have a fantastic impact on tourism,” Mathews said. The city has already started planning for events to take place at the park this season. The “Vox Backin” Tour made a stop at the park at the beginning of February, and at least two more events are coming over the next couple of months.

Staff/Jeff Stanton

Above: Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews shows off the city’s skate park at Swift-Cantrell Park at 3140 Old U.S. 41. Mathews predict predicted the park would attract skateboarders from around the country and ‘would have a fantastic impact on tourism.’ While Kennesaw officials plan to ensure there is plenty of time for passive use of the park pa — which includes features such as stairs, kickers, hubbas and gap, rails and half-pipes — exhibitio exhibitions, contests, summer skateboarding camps and events for ‘Go Skateboarding Day’ on June 21 are all a coming down the pipeline. Left: Taylor Wood, 18, a Kennesaw State student and Kennesaw Mountain Mount High graduate, tests his skills at the skate park. “There won’t be a tremendous focus on plugging events frequently because we want to ensure there’s going to be passive use of the park by skaters on any given day,” Pies said, “but we’re certainly planning some events internally and partnering with some outside groups like Ambush Boarding Company — a local skate retailer — to coordinate events at the park such as exhibitions and contests.” A skating contest on March 15 was recently approved for the park through Ambush, according to Pies. Another event, which hasn’t been finalized, is expected to take place sometime

during May or June. “We absolutely want events and programming at the park,” Pies said. “It’s about finding a balance. We’re still planning our programming activities, but we’re planning on offering summer skateboarding camps with details forthcoming in April on that. “The camps are likely to be limited to no more than 12 children per camp, and there’ll be upwards of three instructors per camp session. The camps will primarily focus on elementary school-age children and they’ll be week-long programs.” According to Pies, instructors for the camps will most likely be through independent contractors. Since Kennesaw has partnered up with Ambush, they have experienced in-

structors who have demonstrated the ability to teach at other facilities. Another event scheduled to take place is June 21, which is “Go Skateboarding Day” around the world. Details on that event are also in the planning stages. “‘Go Skateboarding Day’ is an international skateboarding recognition day, and we’ll be putting together some festivities and activities out at the park.” Pies said. “When the weather is pleasant, there are easily hundreds of skaters out at the park, even in February. So, there’s been a tremendous response. It’s definitely being used, and we only expect it to continue to grow. When you build it, they come and they certainly have.”



Disease From 11CC


Center From 11CC

The Corus CAD test is a non-invasive “gene expression” test that checks a patient’s blood for both genetic and environmental factors. The results are returned within 72 hours. Gentry said the three-day turnaround is not a concern. “If a patient is too unstable to wait that amount of time, that is probably someone that needs to be in the hospital anyway,” Gentry said. The Corus CAD test is not available for diabetic patients or anyone who is currently taking steroids, immunosuppressive medicine or chemotherapeutic agents. A hidden killer among women The Corus CAD test is a more accurate analysis for women, who Gentry said were in great need for a better diagnostic system. Gentry, who sees a higher percentage of female patients than men, said some physicians are prone

Mayo From 13CC In July 2012, WellStar opened the three-story, 70,000-square-foot Acworth Health Park at 4550 Cobb Parkway just north of Cedarcrest Road, which cost $29 million. WellStar broke ground on the East Cobb Health Park in April, a four-story, 188,000-square-foot building northeast of Marietta off Roswell Road, which is expected to cost $80 million and open next September. The design of the WellStar Vinings Health Park will be similar to the East Cobb Health Park, Brywczynski said. “So we don’t have to start

Staff/Kelly J. Huff

Cardiologist Dr. Mindy Gentry is leading the way in protecting Cobb County residents from heart disease with the early detection using the test for the condition using the Coris CAD test.

The condition compressed Parker’s brain matter, Grelecki said, and doctors at Scottish Rite had to rebuild his skull. “He was, medically speaking, born without a brain,” Grelecki said. For five years, Parker’s whole family was told to wait and see. But, Grelecki said, “He is doing far better than we ever could have imagined.” Grelecki said Parker,

“to write someone off as having anxiety.” Gentry, who has three young daughters, said she has a special interest in women with heart disease, especially during pregnancy. “There still tends to be the bias in medicine that you think of men as heart patients,” Gentry said. But, more women than men in the United States die from heart disease. Gentry said this fact, backed by research, is gaining in the public’s knowledge. Gentry said 10 years ago,

there was also increasing evidence that women present with heart disease in a different way than men. With men, the most common symptom is crushing chest pressure, but women are more likely to have fatigue, nausea and shortness of breath. “The symptoms tend to be more vague,” Gentry said, which makes for a harder diagnosis because those symptoms could be related to other health concerns. “It is not a classic story.”

from scratch ... The design teams were happy with the footprint,” he said. Both the East Cobb and Vinings health parks will be staffed with 125 people, including primary-care physicians, pediatric and OB/GYN doctors, cardiologists, gastroenterologists and allergists, as well as equipment for digital x-rays, MRIs and CT scans. “It truly is a one-stop shop for our patients,” Brywczynski said. With overbooked rooms in the Acworth Health Park, the two new parks will double the space, four rooms each, for studies where patients spend the night to be monitored for sleep apnea.

WellStar staff reaction Board members, hospital administrators, medical staff and community leaders gathered at the WellStar Development Center in Smyrna for the announcement in Febru-

“We remain independent, but this is a collaboration,” Jansen said. With more than 13,000 employees, WellStar is one of the largest health systems in the Southeast, serving a

ary. Robert Jansen, executive vice president and chief administrative medical officer of WellStar, began the event by making sure the crowd knew it was not a merger announcement.

population of more than 1.4 million residents in five counties. The collaboration will rely on WellStar doctors acknowledging they need help to solve a problem. “No matter how great physicians are, humility is a great quality,” said Avril Beckford, WellStar’s chief pediatrics officer.

Staff/Kelly J. Huff

Above: Elaine Miller, applications specialist with CMI Imaging checks one of the new digital Radiographic machine in the new wing of the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s Children’s at Town Center facility located on Big Shanty Road in Kennesaw. Left: Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta CEO Donna Hyland, gives the keynote address to those gathered for the official ribbon-cutting, opening the expansion of the radiology department. who has curly blonde hair and wears glasses, is a charismatic little guy who has far exceeded hopes for his cognitive ability, but does have delayed motor skills. Grelecki and his wife, Crysie, who has lived in

Marietta her entire life, will now have a medical staff filled with familiar faces close to home. Should anything happen, including the unavoidable bumps and sprains of their other two young children, it is comforting to have Children’s at Town Center in their backyard, Grelecki said.

Beckford, who has been with WellStar since it was Northwest Georgia Health System in the early 1990s, said she has seen the network grow through many changes. “This is one of the best decisions ever,” Beckford said. Janie Maddox, chairwoman of the WellStar Board of Trustees, said the Cobb community expects excellence in treating personal health. “We kind of know how good we are,” Maddox told the crowd. “But to be able to collaborate with Mayo is just over the top.” Stephen Lange, Southeast medical director of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, attended the event with several

administrators and chief officers from their clinics around the country. The Mayo Clinic Care Network began in 2011, and has 25 members in 14 states, Puerto Rico and Mexico. “Working together, we can increasingly assure patients that they have access to the latest medical knowledge here, in their community,” Lange said. “Medical care is improved by collaboration. We do it because it is the right thing to do for the patients.” The partnership with WellStar will stretch Mayo’s influence in the medical field and accelerate innovation in treating cancer, he said. Maddox told the Mayo representatives, “You may learn as much from us as we learn from all of you all.”




Coming in at No. 6 ... Cobb ranks among healthiest in state From staff reports

MARIETTA — For the second year in a row, Cobb County is ranked sixth in the state for its level of healthiness, but health officials warn the lofty ranking doesn’t mean there is not still work to be done. A study by the Georgia Department of Public Health last year ranks Cobb sixth behind Forsyth, Fayette, Oconee, Gwinnett and Cherokee counties. The other Top 10 counties are Columbia, Morgan, Coweta and Rockdale. Rankings are based on a number of indicators, including the percentage of residents who smoke, are obese, have diabetes, do or don’t exercise, can or cannot afford health insurance, live near

healthy counties are in the top tier of Georgia counties in terms of wealth. Kristin Caudell, WellStar’s director of corporate and community health, said she believes Cobb is ranked highly because there are people locally who have taken time to educate themselves on living healthy lifestyles. “We at WellStar want to be a strong support for a healthy community,” she said. “We really want to empower people with the knowledge so they can take action through prevention with their wellness.” Among the areas in which Cobb continues to improve are the number of premature deaths and the adult smoking rate. Joy Wells, direc-

recreational areas or parks and are employed. Overall death rates and median household incomes also are considered. All of the top six

tor of epidemiology and infectious diseases at Cobb & Douglas Public Health, attributes a strong health care network, medical innovations and good individual awareness for positive medical practices regarding premature deaths. She said tobacco education about the risks of smoking and the Georgia Smoke Free Air Act also has helped reduce smoking numbers. Can Cobb do better than sixth? Cobb has dropped in the rankings since the state department began its study four years ago. It was fourth in 2010 and fifth in 2011. Caudell, Wells and Lisa Crossman, Cobb & Douglas Public Health’s director of the Center for Clinical and Prevention Services, couldn’t say why Cobb had seen its ranking drop or why wh a larger county might rank like Gwinnett G higher. highe We Wells agreed there is work to do in Cobb. still w “W “We are well below the national target for many health indicators, ma an and we have a large ppopulation of residents w who still do not have aaccess to regular prim mary health care,” she said said. H Her department also contin continues to be worried about some of the key health statistics for youth and minority m populations. “N “None of it is really an

easy fix, but the biggest problem hands down is obesity,” Caudell said. She said being overweight can affect every aspect of a person’s health, from heart problems and diabetes to cancer. “Childhood obesity has also become such a large problem,” she said. “We are trying to partner with different agencies to try and make a difference in that area.” Crossman said other risky health lifestyle behaviors like tobacco, alcohol and other drug use, particularly in youth, injuries from traffic accidents and sexually transmitted diseases, also continue to be concerning in Cobb. What’s happening in the rest of the state? Unlike metro Atlanta counties such as Cobb, Fulton, Gwinnett, Clayton, Henry or DeKalb, a majority of the lower-ranking counties are located in central or south Georgia, where poverty tends to be more widespread. Caudell explained why this is the case. “The biggest challenge for some of the more rural areas is the access to healthy food,” she said. “Their economic level being lower makes it less affordable for them to make healthier food choices.” Caudell said resources for educational tools to make better health choices may be more limited in those areas as well.

Top HMOs Rankings based on enrollment in Georgia. All numbers are as of Dec. 31, 2012.  Ranked No. 4 out of 10 was Peach State Health Plan Inc., 3200 Highlands Parkway SE, Suite 300, Smyrna, 30082. Date licensed was June 15, 2005. Total enrollment was 313,660, total capital and surplus was $84,995,880, net premium income was $764,142,225, admitted assets was $155,213,539 and total revenue was $764,142,225. President/Administrator is Patrick Michael Healy. Telephone: (678) 556-2300 Website:  Ranked No. 7 out of 10 was Coventry Health Care of Georgia Inc., 1100 Circle 75 Parkway, Suite 1400, in the Cumberland area, 30339. Date licensed was April 8, 1995. Total enrollment was 157,625, total capital and surplus was $79,847,307, net premium income was $512,181,903, admitted assets was $138,423,042 and total revenue was $512,727,513. President/Administrator is Angela Meoli. Telephone: (678) 202-2100

Top Hospitals Rankings based on net patient review.  Ranked No. 4 out of 25 was WellStar Kennestone Hospital, 677 Church St., Marietta, 30060. Established in 1950, this not for profit had a 2012 total net patient revenue of $665,807,996, a 2012 total gross revenue of $2,453,791,189 and a 2012 total expenses of $569,725,939. Uncompensated indigent and charity care was $178,147,928 and other free care was $23,072,717. Medicare adjustments were $764,994,423, Medicaid adjustments were $179,262,567 and other contractual adjustments were $552,095,571. Total beds were 633. Administrator/CEO is Dan Woods. Telephone: (770) 793-5000 Website:  Ranked No. 11 out of 25 was WellStar Cobb Hospital, 3950 Austell Road, Austell, 30106. Established in 1968, this not for profit had a 2012 Total net patient revenue of $301,525,920, a 2012 Total gross revenue of $1,170,340,669 and a 2012 Total expenses of $283,909,048. Uncompensated Indigent and charity care was $98,418,757 and other free care was $11,248,267. Medicare adjustments were $322,418,224, Medicaid adjustments were $161,160,581 and other contractual adjustments were $217,725,551. Total beds were 382. Administrators/CEOs are Kem M. Mullins and Reynold Jennings. Telephone: (770) 792-4000 Website:

Top Practices


Charlie Duncan of Marietta celebrated his 94th birthday May 27. Duncan has been participating in the water aerobics class at the McCleskey East Cobb Family YMCA three times a week for the past 21 years.

Making a splash East Cobb man credits active lifestyle to his longevity From staff reports

MARIETTA — Charlie Duncan of east Cobb celebrated his 94th birthday with a splash. His friends surprised him with a birthday party at the McCleskey-East Cobb Family YMCA on May 30 following their water aerobics class. Staying active is his secret to a long, healthy life. “I do nothing but water aerobics,” Duncan said. “I don’t touch any of the machines on the count of having arthritis in my hips

and back. It’s the best thing in the world.” He also eats what he loves, sleeps well and stays active any other way he can, more specifically by square dancing with his wife of 36 years, Mary. “He wouldn’t miss this class for anything,” she said. The party was put together by his water aerobics classmate Katie Malone, whose husband, Dick Malone, has been in the class with Duncan for the last 20 plus years. “I think it’s great,” said Dick Malone, 81, about

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his active friend. “He’s a miracle!” The class is open to people of all ages and they meet three times a week. “If you can last, you can come,” Malone said. Duncan turned 94 on May 27. He was born and raised in Cherokee County but moved to Cobb in 1930. He retired 32 years ago from Randall Brothers in Atlanta. “I’ve seen all the changes in Cobb County,” he said. “And I’ve outlived pretty much everyone in my family.”

Care From 9CC

 The Georgia Health Care Association put together a consumer guide, which has a checklist of things to observe when visiting a home, and questions to ask. Pages 7-9 are particularly important. Find it online at uploads/2013/08/GHCA-Consumer-Guide-20131.pdf  If possible, visit the nursing home that you’re considering so you can get a firsthand experience about the facility and what it offers.  Use nursing home compare to get a snapshot of the care that home provides ( nursinghomecompare/search.html)  Make sure the nursing home has a current license from the state.  Know what methods of payment the nursing home will accept.  Find out what kinds of activities and events take place. Source: Angela Daugherty of A.G. Rhodes and Rehab

and treatment throughout an individual’s stay. We use the latest techniques and equipment to provide a range of therapy services including physical, occupational, speech and wellness education,” she said. A.G. Rhodes of Cobb has just expanded its therapy services and now offers a horticulture program and music therapy for residents.

I do nothing but water aerobics. I don’t touch any of the machines on the count of having arthritis in my hips and back. It’s the best thing in the world. — Charlie Duncan, 94-year-old east Cobb water aerobics enthusiast

” “A.G. Rhodes is among only a few service providers of its kind to offer these unique programs thanks to the recent addition of fulltime horticultural therapist and music therapist,” Daugherty said. Those kinds of programs are what any family member wants for their loved ones, but they also come at a price. Skilled nursing facilities can be expensive, and having the finances to pay for excellent care can be a challenge. Costs vary per payment type and resi-

Rankings were based on number of physicians in group.  Ranked No. 3 out of 25 was WellStar Medical Group LLC, 805 Sandy Plains Road, Marietta, 30066. Established in 1994 and affiliated with WellStar Health System Inc., it has 394 current physicians, 147 nurse practitioners and 45 physician assistants. It has 123 locations in Atlanta. Number of outpatient visits in 2012 was 1.25 million. Chief Atlanta officers are Dr. Robert Jansen and Reynold Jennings. Telephone: (770) 792-7600 Website:  Ranked No. 4 out of 25 was Piedmont Physicians Group, 2727 Paces Ferry Road, Suite 1-1100, in the Cumberland areare, 30339. Established in 1994 and affiliated with Piedmont Healthcare, it has 307 current physicians, 44 nurse practitioners and 30 physician assistants. It has 73 locations in Atlanta and 84 in Georgia. Number of outpatient visits in 2012 was 737,010. Chief Atlanta officers are Dr. Quentin R. Pirkle Jr. and Berney H. Crane. Telephone: (770) 801-2550 Website:  Ranked No. 17 out 25 of was WellStar Cardiovascular Medicine LLC, 55 Whitcher St., Suite 350, Marietta, 30060. Established in 1982 and affiliated with WellStar Health System Inc., it has 45 current physicians and 18 physician assistants. It has 10 locations in Atlanta. Number of outpatient visits in 2012 was 65,000. Chief Atlanta officers are Dr. Barry Mangel and Reynold Jennings. Telephone: (770) 424-6893 Website:  Ranked No. 18 out of 25 was Quantum Radiology P.C., 61 Whitcher St., Suite 3150, Marietta, 30060. Established in 1996 and independently affiliated, it has 43 current physicians and 5 physician assistants. It has 21 locations in Atlanta and 23 in Georgia. Number of outpatient visits in 2012 was 247,950. Chief Atlanta officers are Dr. Alan Zuckerman and Adam Fogle. Telephone: (678) 239-0420 Website:  Ranked No. 21 out of 25 was Village Podiatry Centers LLC, 900 Circle 75 Parkway, Suite 900, in the Cumberland area, 30339. Established in 1992 and affiliated with various hospitals, it has 39 current physicians. It has 30 locations in Atlanta and 35 in Georgia. Number of outpatient visits in 2012 was 150,000. Chief Atlanta officers are Dr. Mitch Hilsen and Dr. David Helfman. Telephone: (770) 384-0284 Website: Source: The Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 2013 Book of Lists.

dent income. The private pay rate ranges from $215 to $245 per day at A.G. Rhodes of Cobb. The facility also accepts Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance and private pay resources. Many residents must rely on Medicaid to help fill in the gaps, but Daugherty says it only covers about 70 percent of the true patient costs. “As a not-for-profit, we are so thankful for charitable contributions from the community, which help in absorbing the difference,” she said. Resident satisfaction

is of the utmost importance at A.G. Rhodes of Cobb and Daugherty feels they are meeting their goals of treating each and every client like family. She reads from a note written by the daughter of a resident: “The staff has continued to make Mom’s stay comforting and comfortable. They give her the same kindness and care that they would give to a member of their own family.” At the end of the day, that is what being a 5-star facility is all about.


PROGRESS 2014 Katie Valentine of Marietta and Matthew Kriner of Powder Springs pin on their race numbers before the start of the race on Thanksgiving Day for 11th Annual Gobble Jog. There are a number of road races for which to lace up your running shoes and hit your stride in Cobb County.

Off to the races By Adam Carrington

 Staff/Todd Hull

Upcoming road races in Cobb  March 9 5K in Paradise Town Center Mall Marietta 1 a.m.  March 15 Kappa Delta Sorority Shamrock 5K Kennesaw State University Kennesaw 7 a.m.  March 22 Spring Chicken Run Macland Presbyterian


Church Powder Springs 8:30 a.m.  April 5 Fallen Officer 5K Lost Mountain Baptist Church Powder Springs 8 a.m.  April 19 Battle of Allatoona Creek 5K 9-mile trail run Allatoona Creek Park Acworth 8:30 a.m.

 April 26 Band on the Run 5K/1K Barber Middle School Acworth 7:30 a.m.  April 26 Run for the Ages 5K Powder Springs Library Powder Springs 8:30 a.m.  May 17 Mableton Day 5K Mableton House Complex 8 a.m.

With the Labor Day 10K no longer in operation, the Gobble Jog is the biggest race in Cobb County. The 11th annual event pulled in about 11,000 participants on Thanksgiving morning at the Marietta Square, even with the temperature as low as 24 degrees, making it the coldest Thanksgiving in the metro area since 1911. The overwhelming numbers were a far cry from when race first began in 2003 when there were just a small number of volunteers and 1,400 runners. With the event growing year after year, it now has as many as five races — the 10K, 5K, 1K, Hot Trot and the new untimed 5K for recreational runners. All four races weave through the streets the Square. The inaugural race

raised $29,000. Now the event brings in $450,000 for MUST Ministries, an organization that caters to people in need across the state. The annual Polar Bear Run, which usually takes place the final weekend of January at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, is a wellknown, but a much smaller race, usually keeping it at 2,000 runners. The Polar Bear Run has been in operations for 26 years, starting at Mercer University in 1989 before Johnson Ferry Baptist began playing host three years later. The race benefits the Johnson Ferry high school music students who need funding for its annual Mission/Choir Tour. One of the bigger 10K races is the one being at Silver Comet Trail on March 8 in Mableton. The flattened course starts at Kroger on Floyd Road and the trail ends up going alongside the East-West Connector. That Chasing Moonlight

— the 5K in Paradise also takes place the same weekend at Town Center Mall. Only this race takes place in the middle of the night of March 9. With the theme being “It’s 1 a.m. somewhere,” that’s exactly when the race will start. Runners are encouraged to complete the race by the 2 a.m. daylight savings time. Participants will receive specialty-designed beach shirts and hurricane glasses. The Spring Chicken Run in Powder Springs will follow March 22 to help the impoverished communities in the county and to help fight hunger. For those who want to contribute to fighting hunger, but don’t wish to partake in the race can register as a “phantom runner” and still get a T-shirt. The Battle of Allatoona Creek takes place April 19. The Band on the Run 5K in Acworth on April 26 to benefit the fine arts program of Barber Middle School.

Fitness Centers in Cobb ATA Taekwondo Center 3940 Cherokee St. NW in Kennesaw (770) 427-8400 Gym type: Martial arts/fitness

Gym type: Fitness/health

Crossfit 3732 Cedar Crest Road, Acworth (404) 550-0591 Gym type: Fitness/health

American Body Works/ Marietta


3931 Mary Eliza Trace (770) 429-7878 Gym type: Fitness/health

4401 Baker Grove Road, Acworth (678) 654-7554 Gym type: Fitness/health

American Body Works/ Marietta 769 Whitlock Ave. (678) 508-0183 Gym type: Fitness/health

Crossfit 3250 Heritage Drive, Kennesaw (404) 468-2836 Gym type: Fitness/health

Crossfit American Body Works/ Austell 2615 East-West Conn. (770) 222-6190 Gym type: Fitness/health

505 Commerce Park Drive, Marietta (404) 493-4950 Gym type: Fitness/health

2851 Cobb Parkway (770) 420-0080 Gym type: Fitness/health

1930 Airport Industrial Park Drive, Marietta (678) 984-4142 Gym type: Fitness/health

4500 West Village Place SE in Smyrna (770) 431-9470 Gym type: Fitness/health

Anytime Fitness/ Acworth 2483 Cedarcrest Road (770) 966-1200 Gym type: Fitness/health

Anytime Fitness/ Acworth 1727 Mars Hill Road (770) 421-6000 Gym type: Fitness/health

255 Village Parkway Ste. 540 (678) 419-0900 Gym type: Fitness/health

3210 Hopeland Industrial Dr. (404) 915-8911 Gym type: Jazzercise/aerobic dance

Epiphany Health Studio

Jazzercise/ Kennesaw

22 Mill Street in Marietta (770) 590-9047 Gym type: Fitness/pilates

3195 Acworth Due West Road (770) 917-5868 Gym type: Jazzercise/aerobic dance

Escalade Rock Climbing Gym 3694 Kennesaw South Industrial Drive in Kennesaw (770) 794-1575 Gym type: Fitness, Rock Climbing

1812 Powder Springs Road SW Ste. 1109 in Marietta (678) 354-8919 Gym type: Fitness/health

1349 Old Hwy. 41, Marietta (404) 931-8773 Gym type: Fitness/health

1675 Cumberland Parkway SE in Smyrna (770) 436-1381 Gym type: Fitness, private membership/training

Crossfit/Resurgens 120 Interstate North Parkway, Ste. 106, Marietta (404) 316-9787 Gym type: Fitness/health

Crossfit/Smyrna 1875 Mitchell Road, Mableton (770) 354-1175 Gym type: Fitness/health

Crossfit/South Cobb 1600 Roswell Street in Smyrna (770) 432-4090 Gym type: Fitness/health

4950 Olde Town Parkway in Marietta (770) 321-4550 Gym type: Fitness/personal training

Fitness Together 1255 Johnson Ferry Road, Ste 26 in Marietta (770) 321-1347 Gym type: Fitness/personal training


Fusion Fitness and Mixed Martial Arts

1625 Ridenour Blvd Suite 305 (678) 275-2021 Gym type: Fitness/health

50 Powder Springs St., Marietta (310) 383-5540 Gym type: Fitness/health

1075 Whitlock Avenue Ste. E (678) 290-0282 Gym type: Fitness/martial arts

Anytime Fitness/Marietta


Gold's Gym/Acworth East

1400 Veterans Memorial Highway, Mableton (404) 493-0756 Gym type: Fitness/health

5505 Bells Ferry Road in Acworth (770) 592-4950 Gym type: Fitness/health

Axcess Fitness

Crossfit/West Cobb

Gold’s Gym/Austell

2535 Hickory Grove Road NW in Acworth (770) 975-9960 Gym type: Fitness/health

4876 Floyd Road, Mableton (770) 265-6930 Gym type: Fitness/health

2840 East-West Conn. (770) 432-8688 Gym type: Fitness/health

Coffee's Gym 1800 Lower Roswell Road NE in Marietta (770) 321-6900 Gym type: Fitness/weight training gym

Complex Fitness and Performance 1420 Suite 103 White Circle in Marietta (404)-542-3662 Gym type: Personal training/performance

Core Body Works 4358 Southside Drive in Acworth (770) 975-8228 Gym type: Fitness/yoga

Crossfit/285 4620-C South Atlanta Road, Smyrna (678) 824-2850 Gym type: Fitness/health

736 Johnson Ferry Road (770) 971-4970 Gym type: Jazzercise/aerobic dance

Jazzercise/ North Cobb 3372 Canton Road, Marietta (770) 424-6090 Gym type: Jazzercise/aerobic dance

Just Fitness 4 U 3101 Roswell Road NE in Marietta (770) 565-6330 Gym type: Fitness/health

2325 Log Cabin Drive Ste. 208 in Smyrna (678) 668-1739 Gym type: Fitness/personal training

LA Fitness Sports Clubs/Austell

Top fitness centers Rankings were based on number of members in Atlanta.  Ranked No. 5 (out of a list of 10) was WellStar Health Place, 330 Kennestone Hospital Blvd., Marietta, 30060. Established in 1986, it had 6,165 Atlanta members, one Atlanta location, 12 full-time employees and seven part-time employees. Monthly fee is $35 to $45 and initiation fee is $119. Square footage of the center is 55,000. Partial list of amenities includes cardio, free weights, indoor/outdoor track, indoor pool, racquetball, unlimited group fitness, whirlpool, steam/sauna and a Planet Smoothie. Chief Atlanta officer/club manager is Allan Bishop. Telephone: (770) 793-7300 Website:  Ranked No. 6 was Cosmos Fitness, 2745 Sandy Plains Road, Suite 120, Marietta, 30066. Established in 1995, it had 4,500 Atlanta members, two Atlanta locations, 17 full-time employees and 20 part-time employees. Monthly fee is $14.95 to $24.95 and initiation fee is zero to $49. Square footage of the center is 15,000. Partial list of amenities include personal training, Zumba classes, indoor pool, steam room, sauna, group classes, circuit training, weight training and a climbing wall. Chief Atlanta officer/club manager is Rob Anthony. Telephone: (770) 579-3488 Website: Source: The Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 2013 Book of Lists.

1025 East-West Connector (770) 432-4262 Gym type: Fitness/health

Marietta (770) 578-1180 Gym type: Fitness/personal training

LA Fitness Sports Clubs/Marietta

One to One Health Centers

4400 Roswell Road NE (770) 973-3370 Gym type: Fitness/health

700 Sandy Plains Road NE in Marietta (770) 795-0091 Gym type: Fitness/health

LA Fitness Sports Clubs/Marietta South 1453 Terrell Mill Road, Ste. 145 (678) 279-2843 Gym type: Fitness/health

LA Fitness Sports Clubs/Kennesaw 4200 Wade Green Road Ste. 38 (770) 427-9668 Gym type: Fitness/health

LA Fitness Sports Clubs/Kennesaw

Peachtree Gymnastics & More 1255 Johnson Ferry Road NE in Marietta (770) 977-5557 Gym type: Gymnastics/dance/ fitness

Planet Fitness 3160 Cobb Parkway in Kenneaw (770) 975-7179 Gym type: Fitness/health

Life Quest Fitness/ Marietta

3600 Cherokee St. NW, Ste. 102 in Kennesaw (770) 426-0033 Gym type: Fitness, women only

4930 Davidson Road (770) 971-0557 Gym type: Fitness/health/personal training

Curves for Women/ Marietta

Life Quest Fitness/ Kennesaw

2209 Roswell Road, Ste. 100 in Marietta (770) 977-7187 Gym type: Fitness, women only

3362 Acworth Summit Blvd. (678) 973-0635 Gym type: Fitness/health/personal training

LA Fitness Sports Clubs/Vinings

2375 Hwy. 92 in Acworth (770) 974-5986 Gym type: Fitness/health

Curves for Women/Marietta Northeast

Life Quest Fitness/ Kennesaw

2995 Cobb Parkway (770) 956-9093 Gym type: Fitness/health

Tekniques Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Fitness

2960 ShallowfoRoad Road, Ste. 103 (770) 977-7769 Gym type: Fitness, women only

2911 George Busbee Parkway (770) 425-4653 Gym type: Fitness/health/personal training

Curves for Women/Marietta-Powder Springs

Iron Clutch Fitness

2200 Powder Springs Road, St. 180, Marietta (770) 426-4311 Gym type: Fitness, women only

Curves for Women/ Vinings 2810 Paces Ferry Road SE in

2800 Canton Road Ste. 2000 (770) 926-5269 Gym type: Fitness/ self-defense

Jazzercise Center/ Mableton 555 Nickajack Road (770) 434-5303

1185 Ernest Barrett Parkway (678) 202-5503 Gym type: Fitness/health

LA Fitness Sports Clubs/Sprayberry 2550 Sandy Plains Road (678) 202-5178 Gym type: Health/fitness

Little Gym 1295 W. Spring Street in Smyrna (770) 434-6661 Gym type: Gymnastics/children

Midtown Athletic Club at Windy Hill

Marietta (770) 793-7300 Gym type: Fitness/health

Women's Premier Fitness 4961 Lower Roswell Road NE in Marietta (770) 565-5450 Gym type: Fitness, women only

Workout Anytime/ Marietta

Curves for Women/Kennesaw

Crossfit/East Cobb 4696 Lower Roswell Road in Marietta (770) 977-8575

Jazzercise/ Marietta

Knockouts and Fitness Fit For Life

Anytime Fitness/Kennesaw

3595 Canton Road (770) 592-5650 Gym type: Fitness/health

Jazzercise/ Powder Springs

Fit Family Crossfit/Kennesaw

Anytime Fitness Vinings

East Cobb Exercise Excellence

Gym type: Jazzercise/aerobic dance

Fitness 19 Crossfit

American Body Works/ Kennesaw

Atlanta (770) 434-9034 Gym type: Fitness, women only

Retro Fitness 2400 Cobb Parkway in Smyrna (770) 859-1980 Gym type: Fitness/health

Stack's Gym

3405 Florence Circle in Powder Springs (678) 983-8089 Gym type: Fitness/self-defense

Titanz Fitness and Nutrition

135 Interstate North Parkway NW in Atlanta (770) 953-1100 Gym type: Fitness/health

3150 Highlands Parkway Ste. 113 in Smyrna (770) 803-0050 Gym type: Fitness/strength building

My Fitness Gym

WellStar Health Place

4880 Lower Roswell Road in

330 Kennestone Hospital Blvd. in

800 Whitlock Avenue NW Ste. 106 (678) 355-5530 Gym type: Fitness/health

Workout Anytime/ Kennesaw 1600 Kennesaw Due West Road NW (770) 422-2279 Gym type: Fitness/health

Workout Anytime in Smyrna 3100 Highlands Pkwy. (404) 792-3555 Gym type: Fitness/health

World Gym 4425 South Cobb Drive in Smyrna (770) 801-0006 Gym type: Health/fitness/training

X 3 Sports 2343 Windy Hill Road SE in Marietta (678) 903-0100 Gym type: Fitness/self-defense training

Yoga and Meditation with Lynn 4985-B Lower Roswell Road Ste. 200 in Marietta (404) 455-5805 Gym type: therapy/yoga center by appt. only

Your Body Fitness 2639 Hickory Grove Road Ste. 140 in Acworth (770) 966-1500 Gym type: Fitness/health










Your schools Cobb County private schools Carman Adventist School 1330 North Cobb Parkway, Marietta, 30062 Phone: (770) 424-0606 Website: Principal: Steve Wilson Accreditation: SACS, NCPSA, GAPSAC Enrollment: 80 Number of Teachers: 7 Grades Offered: K-8 Application Opens: N/A Application Fee: $100 Registration Fee $475 Application Deadline: Aug. 1 Average Tuition: $4,200 After-School and BeforeSchool Care: Yes Year Established: 1958 Casa Montessori School 150 Powers Ferry Road, Marietta, 30067 Phone: (770) 973-2731 Website: Directress: Suzanne Johnson Accreditation: AMI Enrollment: About 165 Number of Teachers: 20 Grades Offered: 2½ years old – 6th grade Application Opens: N/A Application Fee: None Application Deadline: N/A Average Tuition: $8,100$10,800 After-School Care: No Year Established: 1974 Cobb County Christian School 545 Lorene Drive, Marietta, 30060 Phone: (770) 434-1320 Website: Director: Gloria Kelley Accreditation: ACSI Enrollment: 35 Number of Teachers: 6 Grades Offered: PK3-12 Application Opens: February Application Fee: $25 Application Deadline: N/A Average Tuition: $4,050 After-School Care: Yes Year Established: 1971 Cornerstone Preparatory Academy 4310 Moon Station Lane, Acworth, 30101 Phone: (770) 529-7077 Website: Administrator: Jeanne Borders Accreditation: SACS, ACSI Member Enrollment: 380 Number of Teachers: 56 Grades Offered: K-12 Application Opens: Fall semester opens in January and spring semester opens in August Application Fee: $50 per student Application Deadline: Fall semester, August; spring semester, January Average Tuition: $125 per semester hour (full course load $1,500 elementary per semester, $2,250 secondary school per semester, K is $1,250 half-day all-inclusive program) Special Programs: Elementary: flag football, junior cross country, Chess Club, various ACSI academic competitions; Secondary: girl’s volleyball, boy’s basketball, swim team, golf, tennis, football, cross country, cheerleading, FCA, drama, yearbook, National Honor Society, Student Activity Council, Leadership Team, Praise Team, Chapel, Spanish Club, various ACSI academic competitions. Year Established: 2004 Covenant Christian School 3130 Atlanta Road, Smyrna, 30080 Phone: (770) 435-1596 Website: Headmaster: Randy Ball Enrollment: 236 Number of Teachers: 16 Grades Offered: PK4-8 Application Opens: Jan. 1

Application Fee: $125 Application Deadline: May 1 Average Tuition: $4,500$7,675 Special Programs: classical Christian curriculum, basketball, cross country, communicators club After-School Care: Yes Year Established: 1975 Covered Bridge Academy 488 Hurt Road, Smyrna, 30082 Phone: (770) 801-8292 Website: Directors: Dana Vaughn and Natesha Cobb Accreditation: GAC Enrollment: 50 Number of Teachers: 8 Grades Offered: PK-5 Application Opens: N/A Application Fee: $100 Application Deadline: N/A Average Tuition: $6,600$10,000 Special Programs: music, art, Spanish, physical education, Montessori curriculum After-School Care: Yes Year Established: 1999 Cumberland Christian Academy 2356 Clay Road, Austell, 30106 Phone: (770) 423-0404 Website: Headmaster: Dr. Lee Campbell Accreditation: GAC Enrollment: 360 Number of Teachers: 40 Grades Offered: PK3-12 Application Opens: Feb. 15 Application Fee: $250-$575 Application Deadline: N/A Average Tuition: $4,000$7,300 (for first child, discount for subsequent child) Special Programs: basketball, golf, volleyball, baseball, softball, soccer, cross country, tennis, cheerleading, photography and videography, online courses After-School Care: Yes Year Established: 1989 Dominion Christian School 4607 Burnt Hickory Road, Acworth, 30064 Phone: (770) 420-2153 Website: Headmaster: Joe Bradley Accreditation: ACSI, SACS Enrollment: 254 Number of Teachers: 31 (including staff) Grades Offered: 6-12 Application Opens: Jan. 1 Application Fee: $120 Application Deadline: N/A Average Tuition: $8,495$12,985 Special Programs: athletics, various clubs, international program, college prep curriculum, fine arts program, peer leadership program After-School Care: No Year Established: 1997 East Cobb Christian School 4616 Roswell Road, Marietta, 30062 Phone: (770) 565-0881 Website: Principal: Teresa Staley Accreditation: GAC, CSI Enrollment: 120 Number of Teachers: 20 Grades Offered: K-8 Application Opens: Jan. 28 Application Fee: $100 Application Deadline: N/A Average Tuition: $4,800$7,600 Special Programs: Charlotte Mason Emphasis, Spanish, ExploreMore program for K-3 After-School Care: No Year Established: 1987 Eastside Christian School 2450 Lower Roswell Road, Marietta, 30068 Phone: (770) 971-2332 Website:

Principal: Judith Cripps Accreditation: GAC; Member ACSI Enrollment: 330 Number of Teachers: 50 Grades Offered: K5-8; optional pre-first Application Opens: N/A Application Fee: $50 Application Deadline: N/A Average Tuition: $5,335$7,524 Special Programs: academic clubs, athletic teams and individual sports, art, music and drama ensembles, progressive computer application courses, Spanish, The Discovery Program After-School Care: Yes Year Established: 1983 Faith Lutheran School 2111 Lower Roswell Road, Marietta, 30068 Phone: (770) 973-8921 Website: www.faithmarietta. com Principal: Jack D. Hibbs Accreditation: National Lutheran Schools Accreditation, SACS Enrollment: 235 Number of Teachers: 18 Grades Offered: 2 y/o – 8th grade Application Opens: Jan. 27 Application Fee: $50 Testing Fee: $50 Application Deadline: N/A Average Tuition: $4,225$7,185 Special Programs: competitive sports, choral, band, handbells, Spanish After-School Care: Yes Year Established: 1958 Mableton Christian Academy 6485 Factory Shoals Road, Mableton, 30126 Phone: (770) 948-7971 Website: Principal/Administrator: David Martin Accreditation: GAC Enrollment: 43 Number of Teachers: 6 Grades Offered: PK-12 Application Opens: N/A Application Fee: $100 Application Deadline: March 1 Average Tuition: $4,000$6,000 Special Programs: student conventions After-School and Before School Care: Yes Year Established: 1978 Midway Covenant Christian School 4635 Dallas Highway, Powder Springs, 30127 Phone: (770) 590-1866 Website: www.midwayschool. org Administrator: Barbara Kline Accreditation: ACSI Enrollment: 310 Number of Teachers: 25 Grades Offered: PK4-8 Application Opens: February Application Fee: $125 Application Deadline: N/A Average Tuition: $2,645$5,700 Special Programs: band, chorus, computers, basketball, cheerleading, baseball, cross country, volleyball, tennis After-School Care: No Year Established: 1996 Mount Bethel Christian Academy 4385 Lower Roswell Road, Marietta, 30068 Phone: (770) 971-0245 Website: Director: Jim Callis Accreditation: SAIS, SACS, ACSI Enrollment: 495 Number of Teachers: 60 Grades Offered: K-8 Application Opens: N/A Application Fee: $100 Application Deadline: Feb. 1, rolling admission due to space Average Tuition: $9,73011,050 Special Programs: Latin, Spanish, logic, Bible, fine arts,

media, clubs, technology, athletics, band, chorus After-School Care: Yes Year Established: 1998 Mount Paran Christian School 1275 Stanley Road, Kennesaw, 30152 Phone: (770) 578-0182 Website: www.mtparanschool. com Headmaster: David W. Tilley Accreditation: SACS-SAIS Enrollment: 1,215 Number of Teachers: 102 Grades Offered: PK3-12 Application Opens: N/A Application Fee: $75 Application Deadline: N/A Average Tuition: $2,857$14,309 Special Programs: Acclaimed performing arts magnet program, extensive athletics program beginning in fifth grade, encore/gifted program, AP & honors courses, foreign language starting in PK3, unique course offerings (Greek, criminalistics, marine biology, and Christian apologetics), study abroad, directed studies, peer mentoring (plus 28 other clubs/organizations), executive internships, Georgia GOAL scholarship participant After-School Care: Yes Year Established: 1976 North Cobb Christian School 4500 Lakeview Drive, Kennesaw, 30144 Phone: (770) 975-0252 Website: Head of School: Todd Clingman Accreditation: AdvancEd (formerly SACS), ACSI, GAC Enrollment: 886 Number of Teachers: 75 Grades Offered: PK3-12 Application Opens: Nov. 15 Application Fee: $100 Application Deadline: N/A Average Tuition: $4,185$12,725 Special Programs: academies, arts, “Moving Forward” program, gifted, athletics, missions, summer camps, spring term After-School Care: Yes Year Established: 1983 Praise Academy 4052 Hiram-Lithia Springs Road, Powder Springs, 30127 Phone: (770) 943-2484 Website: www.praiseacademy. com Principal: Georgia White Administrator: Joe White Accreditation: SACS, ACSI Enrollment: 305 Number of Teachers: 22 Grades Offered: PK3-12 Application Opens: Feb. 1 Application Fee: $150 Application Deadline: N/A Average Tuition: $2,950$5,175 Special Programs: AP/dual credit courses, music, arts, athletics, chess, robotics club After-School Care: Yes Year Established: 1983 Shiloh Hills Christian School 260 Hawkins Store Road, Kennesaw, 30144 Phone: (770) 926-7729 Website: Administrator: Terry Farrant Accreditation: SACS, GACS, GPSAC Enrollment: 275 Number of Teachers: 35 Grades Offered: PK3-12 Application Opens: Feb. 1 Application Fee: $130 Application Deadline: N/A Average Tuition: $3,135$7,945 Special Programs: football, basketball, baseball, volleyball, soccer After-School Care: Yes Year Established: 1980 Shreiner Academy 1340 Terrell Mill Road, Marietta, 30067 Phone: (770) 953-1340 Website:

Head of School: Sarah Walker Accreditation: GAC Enrollment: 190 Number of Teachers: 25 Grades Offered: PS-8 Application Opens: N/A Application Deadline: N/A Average Tuition: $8,600$14,600 Special Programs: computer, art, Spanish, performing arts After-School Care: Yes, included in tuition Year Established: 1980 St. Joseph Catholic School 81 Lacy Street, Marietta, 30060 Phone: (770) 428-3328 Website: www.stjosephschool. org Principal: Patricia Allen Accreditation: SACS, SAIS Enrollment: 490 Number of Teachers: 50 Grades Offered: K-8 Application Opens: N/A Application Fee: $125 Application Deadline: N/A Average Tuition: $5,878 (Catholic); $7,641 (non-Catholic/ non-participating Catholic) Special Programs: basketball, girls volleyball, LEGO robotics, praise band, drama, Scouts After-School Care: Yes Year Established: 1953 The Walker School 700 Cobb Parkway N., Marietta, 30062 Phone: (678) 581-6891 Website: Head of School: Jack Hall Accreditation: SACS/SAIS Enrollment: 1,016 Number of Teachers: 130 Grades Offered: PK-12 Application Opens: Oct. 1 Application Fee: $75 Application Deadline: Feb. 12 Average Tuition: $10,420$18,630 Special Programs: AP courses, student internships, international exchanges, foreign language beginning in pre-K, award-winning drama productions, state championship-winning sports teams, nationally recognized college, counseling program, robotics club After-School Care: Yes Year Established: 1957 The Wood Acres School 1772 Johnson Ferry Road, Marietta, 30062 Phone: (770) 971-1880 Website: Head of School: Judy T. Thigpen Enrollment: 400 Number of Teachers: 70 Grades Offered: 2 years old – 8th grade Application Opens: December Application Fee: $75-$100 Application Deadline: Feb. 17 Average Tuition: $3,000$9,400 Special Programs: International Spanish Academy through the Embassy of Spain, music, band, art, physical education, technology lab, science labs, drama, BETA Club, Chess Club, community service After-School and Before School Care: Yes Year Established: 1969 Whitefield Academy 1 Whitefield Drive SE, Mableton, 30126 Phone: (678) 305-3000 Website: Interim Headmaster: Dr. Kevin Brucher, academic dean Upper School Principal: Dr. Susan Banke Middle School Principal: Dr. Ronald Farrar Lower School Principal: Jeannie Brostrand Accreditation: SACS/SAIS Enrollment: 652 Number of Teachers: 110 (employees) Grades Offered: PK4-12 Application Opens: Oct. 1

Cobb County college and universities Chattahoochee Technical College Number of students: 17,000 In-state tuition by semester: $1,541 for 15 credit hours including fees Most popular programs: Television Production technology, accounting, business administration technology, criminal justice, drafting, electrical engineering and

health sciences Kennesaw State University Number of students: 24,670 In-state tuition by semester: Undergraduate: About $3,404 for 15 credit hours including fees Graduate: $4,110 for 12 credit hours including fees Most popular programs/

departments: accounting, biology, communication, criminal justice, early childhood education, management, nursing and psychology Life University Number of students: 2,747 In-state tuition by semester: Chiropractic program (doctorate): $23,125 Graduate programs: $9,504

Undergraduate program: $9,797 Most popular programs/ departments: Exercise science/physiology, biology, nutrition, dietetics, business administration Southern Polytechnic State University Number of students: 6,550 In-state tuition (and fees) by

semester: Undergraduate: $2,866 Graduate: $2,772 Most popular programs/departments: Mechanical engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, information technology, mechanical engineering technology, architecture

Application Fee: $65 Application Deadline: Feb. 15 Average Tuition: $9,920 to $19,800 Advanced placement and honors courses: 22 Athletic: 22 varsity teams, 50 athletic teams total Special Programs: summer sports camps, Summer Academic Enrichment program, Fine Arts Month, peer mentoring and tutoring, weekly chapel programs, Academic Enrichment Center, upper school programs, college tours, community service days, Life and Career Planning course and testing for juniors, SAT prep classes and a SAT test center, yearbook class and theater tech class After-School Care: Yes Year Established: 1997 Youth Christian School 4967 Brownsville Road, Powder Springs, 30127 Phone: (770) 943-1394 Website: www.youthchristian. org Principal: Dan Principe Accreditation: GACS Enrollment: 150 Number of Teachers: 20 Grades Offered: PK3-12 Application Opens: Feb. 1 Application Fee: $250 Application Deadline: N/A Average Tuition: $4,300$4,650 School Programs: volleyball, basketball, football After-School Care: Yes Year Established: 1974 Accreditation abbreviations: Some affiliations listed under accreditation are memberships rather than accreditations. Some common abbreviations for school accreditation are: AAAIS — Atlanta Area Association of Independent Schools ACSI — Association of Christian Schools International AMI — Association Montessori International CITA — Commission on Trans-Regional Accreditation DHR — Department of Human Resources ELCA — Evangelical Lutheran Church in America GAC — Georgia Accrediting Commission Inc. GACS — Georgia Association of Christian Schools GAIS — Georgia Association of Independent Schools GAPSEC — Georgia Association of Private Schools for Exceptional Children GAYC — Georgia Association of Young Children GCCA — Georgia Child Care Association GHSA — Georgia High School Association GISA — Georgia Independent School Association MACTE — Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education MIA — Montessori Institute of America NAEYC — National Association for the Education of Young Children NAIS — National Association of Independent Schools NCME — National Council on Measurement in Education NCPSA — National Council of Private School Association SACS — Southern Association of Colleges & Schools SAIS — Southern Association of Independent Schools Regarding grades offered, the term K-8 means kindergarten through eighth grade. The term PK means the school has pre-kindergarten programs for 4-year-olds. We did not include childcare centers or schools that only offer preschool. PS — Preschool PK — Pre-kindergarten PK3 — Pre-kindergarten program for 3-year-olds PK4 — Pre-kindergarten program for 4-year-olds K — Kindergarten




Meet your Cobb, Marietta Board of Education members Cobb County Board of Education members for 2014

Tim Stultz

Board Chair, Kathleen Angelucci Tim Stultz

Kathleen Angelucci

Post 4: North Cobb Age: 52 Education: Early childhood education, hospitality leadership/ management Residence: Marietta Family: Husband, Jay; children: Tony, Cera and Laura, — all graduates of Cobb County Schools

Post 2: Southeast Cobb Age: 35 Occupation: IT Analyst Education: Georgia Tech Residence: Mableton Family: Wife, Jodi; one daughter and one son

Randy Scamihorn

Post 1:Northwest Cobb Age: 64 Occupation: Retired Cobb educator and administrator, retired military officer Education: M.A. in science, Central Michigan University, B.A. of science, electronics engineering, Indiana State University Residence: Kennesaw Family: Wife, Debbie; children: Allen and Amy; two grandsons

David Banks

David Banks

Post 5: Northeast Cobb Age: 75 Occupation: Former IT

Brett Bittner

Board Chair, Randy Weiner Brett Bittner

Randy Weiner Scott Sweeney

Post 3: Southwest Cobb Age: 42 Occupation: Lobbyist with American Federation for Children Education: B.A. in political science, Grambling State University Residence: Austell Family: Children: Lailah, who attends Riverside Primary, and Rashaan, who attends Georgia State University

City of Marietta Board of Education members for 2012

from University of Georgia Residence: Marietta Family: Husband, Jim; children: Kate and Grace — both in Marietta City Schools Jeriene BonnerGrimes

Scott Sweeney

David Morgan

David Morgan

Vice Chair, Randy Scamihorn

consultant and computer company worker Education: B.B.A., Georgia State College; M.B.A., Georgia State University Residence: East Cobb Family: Wife, Kay; four children; five grandchildren, three in Cobb County Schools

Post 6: East Cobb Age: 56 Occupation: Consultant Education: B.A., economics, UCLA Residence: Marietta Family: Wife; children: two who attend Cobb County schools Brad Wheeler

Ward 3 Age: 46 Occupation: Small business owner, What a pane! Window Cleaning Education B.A. in finance, KSU 1990 Residence: Marietta Family: Wife, Kelley; children: Grace and Libbie, both in Marietta City Schools Vice Chair, Irene Berens

Brad Wheeler

Post 7: West-central Cobb Age: 59 Occupation: Retired school administrator/teacher/coach, aquatics director for USA Pools in Roswell Education: B.S., Berry College, health/PE; Master’s, Jacksonville State in school administration Residence: Powder Springs Family: Wife, Kathy; children: Zach and Seth

Ward 1 Age: 34 Occupation: Consultant Residence: Marietta Family: Longtime girlfriend Crystal; three dogs Jason Waters

Jason Waters

Ward 2 Age: 38 Occupation: Commercial banker Education B.B.A. University of Georgia Residence: Marietta Family: Wife, Katie; children: Hank and Virginia

Jeriene Bonner-Grimes

Ward 5 Age: 50+ Occupation: Event manager Education 2 years college, Albany State University Residence: Marietta Family: Four children, one in Marietta City Schools; six grandchildren Tom Cheater

Jill Mutimer Tom Cheater Irene Berens

Ward 7 Occupation: Ballet teacher Education B.S. in management, Georgia Tech Residence: Marietta Family: Husband, Bob; children: Lauren, Ryan and David; grandchildren: Claire and Hudson

Jill Mutimer

Ward 4 Age: 47 Occupation: Financial consultant Education B.B.A

Ward 6 Age: 53 Occupation: Client Partner, Gartner Inc. Education: B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, University of Pittsburgh and Post Graduate Finance at Widener University Residence: Marietta Family: Wife, Lisa; children: Nicholas and Jordan



‘Unfazed’ Undeterred by a challenging 2 months, Angelucci is ready to face the demands of 2014 By Hannah Morgan


oard of Education Chairwoman Kathleen Angelucci has a full year ahead of her and she is ready to face any challenge. After a hectic two months as chairwoman, Angelucci remains positive and excited for the year ahead.

School board members have seen Superintendent Michael Hinojosa resign his post, allegations of central office misconduct and a January snowstorm that trapped hundreds of students in schools. Angelucci remains unfazed and is excited for the next year for Cobb schools. As long as she can keep the board in constant communication and on the same page, all will work out, she said. At the end of the day, it’s about what is best for the students in Cobb schools. The school board voted in February to rebuild both Mountain View and Brumby elementary schools with SPLOST IV funds, and authorize construction on a new building for Wheeler High School and improvements to Walton. Cobb students performed remarkably well on national tests this year, and nearly 30 high school seniors were honored with STAR awards by the Marietta Kiwanis Club for earning high scores on the SAT. Angelucci and newlyelected Vice Chairman Randy Scamihorn are ready to tackle such challenges as the Common Core Standards, deciding on whether to become a charter system and delegating the

state funds Gov. Nathan Deal has recently pledged to education. Angelucci’s list of priorities is long, but she said at the top is finding a new superintendent. Superintendent uncertainty A decision on who will replace Hinojosa, who surprised the board Feb. 3 when he announced his resignation, had not yet been made as of press time. Hinojosa’s resignation came as a surprise to the board, who had hired him to work through Dec. 31, 2014. Hinojosa said he will be leaving May 31 and moving back to Dallas, Texas, to be with family. The board is in charge of selecting and hiring a superintendent and with determining the superintendent’s salary. “There is so much that is happening at once, we are trying to look at what is before us, trying to touch everything at once, but foremost is finding a new superintendent,” she said. Angelucci called the board into a special Saturday meeting Feb. 8 to discuss what its options were, although board members were mum about

See Ready, 7DD

GET TO KNOW Kathleen Angelucci & Randy Scamihorn See page 7DD








2 new members add perspectives to Marietta School Board By Rachel Gray

MARIETTA — Two new members were elected to the Marietta City School Board in November, adding diversity and new perspectives to the seven-member board that governs the city’s schools; Jeriene Grimes and Jason Waters. On Jan. 14, Jason Waters was sworn in to represent Ward 2, a spot vacated when Tony Fasola decided not to run for re-election. Jeriene Grimes became the new representative of Ward 5, which was previously represented by Stuart Fleming, who joined the Marietta City Council. Grimes invested in community When Jeriene Grimes joined the Marietta school board in January, representing Ward 5, she became the third woman on the board, serving with four men, and the only minority representative. Grimes said she is proud to be in a school system “admired by many.” “It just shows we have done something right,” Grimes said. “I am glad to be part of that team.” Grimes has been in the hospitality business for 20 years and plans to go back to school, most likely to Kennesaw State University, to complete a marketing degree, she said. After living in Kennesaw for years, Grimes said she moved to Marietta six years ago and has seen the area transform and progress with new developments. “Every need is met within the city” and

there is the added feature that her home is within walking distance to the Square, Grimes said. This holiday season, the Grimes home was filled with her family, including her three grown children, her daughter Sydnee, 14, who attends Marietta High School, and six grandchildren, most of whom live in Marietta. “My future is my children and my grandchildren,” Grimes said. Venturing into politics Grimes said she never thought she would get into politics, but always had a desire to be involved in “what our future can be.” Grimes’ mother and Cobb County NAACP president, Deane Bonner, agreed. Bonner said being in public office was not a long-term goal for her daughter, “but the opportunity came and she was the best candidate.” Marietta school board Chairman Randy Weiner said he has met with Grimes several times in the last couple of months and said she is very open to learning and gathering information. “She seems very eager to be on the board,” Weiner said. Bonner said the fouryear term will allow for a learning curve so Grimes can become the kind of representative her constituants want her to be. “The advocacy is there. … You can have the passion going in, but you have to know the procedures,” Grimes said. “She has to learn the lay of the land.” Grimes said she has no preconceived notions and will spend time learning



Age: 52 Children: Sydnee, 14, Sebastian, 26, Jazz, 28, and Brittney, 31; plus five granddaughters and a 1-month-old grandson Residence: Off Washington Avenue, across from the Marietta National Cemetery Occupation: Independent contract event manager Prior experience: Vice president of the PTSA Council for Marietta City Schools

Age: 37 Children: Virginia, 4, and Hank, 2 ½ Residence: Lee’s Crossing, off Manning Road from Whitlock Avenue Occupation: First vice president a nd commercial relationship manager at SunTrust Bank Prior experience: On Planning Commission for more than a year

the school system’s policies. Grimes added she will learn how to be an effective member from the veterans on the board, and through the leadership of Superintendent Emily Lembeck, who was Grimes’ oldest daughter’s second-grade teacher. Black community leader As a “military brat” born in Ohio, who has lived in Portugal and Turkey, Grimes said she never saw race as a dividing factor. While attending Sprayberry High School, “there were the blacks and the whites. That was different for me,” Grimes said. The Marietta school system is a minoritymajority district. Out of 8,300 students, 44 percent are black, 31 percent Hispanic and 19 percent white, according to an executive summary released by Lembeck in 2012. In 2012, Marietta High School’s graduation rate

was 67 percent for all students. However, the rate for white students was 85 percent, and the rate of black students was 61 percent. “There certainly needs to be a concern about the ratio of African-American men graduating,” Bonner said. Bonner said there is also a need to restructure how discipline is handed out to young students. The no-tolerance policies can be too harsh, often ending in handcuffs and being booked in the county jail, Bonner said. As an organizer and advocate, Grimes has been heavily involved with the NAACP for 12 years, serving as vice president with the local chapter. Grimes said she is concerned about the number of transient students across the whole system, but said the board and administration are “not putting their heads in the sand.” Grimes said she is glad the education of black students is a concern

for everyone because work needs to be done, especially with young men “on how to pull them into the game.” Waters: serving is his mission In high school, Jason Waters was involved in service projects and was a part of student government in college, he said. “Serving others is what I am supposed to do as a mission,” Waters said. Waters has two young children, Hank, 2½, and Virginia, 4, who will soon be attending Burruss Elementary, directly across from the subdivision where Waters lives with his family. Waters said he met his wife, Katie, at a church they both attended in Buckhead. Katie Waters is a stay-at-home mom and a former teacher at Burruss and Hickory Hills elementary schools. Born in Austell, Waters said he has lived inside the city of Marietta for the past six years. Waters has a degree

from the University of Georgia in finance, and now works for SunTrust in Atlanta. For 15 years, Waters said he has worked for both community and regional banks on the business side, making lending decisions to help grow companies. Now, as an elected official, Waters said he has been most surprised to see how funding structures at the state and federal level impact a local school system. “That has been eyeopening for me,” Waters said. Waters said he might be a numbers man on the school board, but with a focus on student achievement. Waters said he will be asking the board in the coming year, “What do we need to spend to maximize student achievement?” He thinks the board is about team work, more than individual projects, and should be focused on how to better the Marietta school system as a whole.

Superintendent: Marietta schools getting better each year said. Hayden added her younger siblings also used the laptop for their homework, which helped them better manage their time and do better on school assignments. Students who received laptops no longer had to wait in line at the library to do their homework on public computers, said former club president Bobby Tharpe Having the freedom to use the Internet everywhere gave students and their families more opportunities to achieve, he said. “Benefits came out of this we wouldn’t know exist,” Tharpe added.

By Hannah Morgan

MARIETTA — Despite a stagnant economy, increase in students and high transiency rates, Marietta City Schools Superintendent Emily Lembeck told the Marietta Kiwanians in January her schools were getting better each year. Lembeck told more than 100 club members at the annual State of the City Address, at the First United Methodist Church in Marietta, more students were graduating, many with honors and college credit, test scores were improving, and teachers were being paid more efficiently. These accomplishments have been a long time coming, Lembeck said, and the close-knit school system was working hard to ensure another year of success. “It takes time for change to happen,” she told the crowd. Test scores, graduation rate up; change in demographics In 2013, 18 percent of MCS third- through eighth-graders exceeded the minimum state standards on the CRCT (criterion referenced competency tests) last year, Lembeck said, an increase from 5 percent in 2012. The system’s graduation rate also increased by 5 percent, from 62 percent in 2012 to 67 percent in 2013, Lembeck said. All this while the district grew by 1,000 students in the last four years, she added. In 2012, the district had 8,466 students, and grew by 413 students in 2013, Lembeck said. The extra students each have their own needs, and roughly 65 percent of them live in poverty, she said. “It’s a microcosm of real life. The diversity in the school system prepares you for real life, and for college,” said Kiwanis member Judge Joan Bloom, a municipal court associate judge in Acworth.

Staff/Kelly J. Huff

City of Marietta Schools Superintendent Dr. Emily Lembeck delivers the State of the School System address Jan. 23 during the annual meeting of the Marietta Kiwanis Club at the First United Methodist Church. Marietta Kiwanis President-Elect Holly Tuchman, member Ron Francis and Pat Huey, executive director of the group listen in on the presentation. Lembeck hopes the Franklin Road redevelopment project will help to stabilize the system’s fluctuating population. The large amount of rental property in Marietta leads to a high transiency rate in the area, with students coming in and out of the system throughout the school year, Lembeck said. In the next three years, Lembeck predicts a number of new students will join the school system, with the addition of 731 planned homes and apartments to be built in five development projects. If there is an influx of students, the system might open another school in that area, Lembeck said. “I’m hopeful the Franklin Road changes will help increase test scores and decrease transiency rates; this is good for the district,” said Kiwanis member Alice Summerour, an attorney in

Marietta, past president of the Marietta Kiwanis Club and a member of the Marietta Board of Lights and Water. Austerity cuts, debt still linger Despite not receiving almost $37 million in state education funding since 2003 because of state austerity cuts, Lembeck said the system’s budget looked solid going into the 2014-15 school year. Marietta Board of Education decided to defer salary increases for teachers, and not spend extra money on extra educational programs, so as to better cope with the state cuts. “We are hopeful that the governor’s proposed funding for schools comes to fruition,” Lembeck said, although nothing was certain yet. A 1998 bond issue by the district, which was refinanced in 2008, has

left the district with $15.2 million of debt, carried over from that original bond issue, said Thomas Algarin, spokesman for the district. “I would have really liked to stand before you today and tell you we are debtfree,” Lembeck said, but she hopes funds from SPLOST IV, approved by voters in March, will generate enough funds to pay off the debt. The 1-cent sales tax is expected to generate $55.4 million in funds for Marietta City Schools, according to the district’s website. Marietta residents’ millage rates will drop for a second year in a row this July, Lembeck said, from 18.68 to 17.97. In 2013, the millage rate was 19.157, which means the taxes owed for a $200,000 house would have been $1,456. In 2014, the millage rate decreased to 18.68, and that millage decrease amounts to a

savings of $36, said Algarin. In July, the millage decrease to 17.97 will result in another $54 on a $200,000 house, he said. Good news for taxpayers, Kiwanians A laptop program sponsored by the Kiwanis Club has “changed lives,” Lembeck said. In a year and a half, the Marietta Kiwanians raised $65,000 to sponsor laptops for Marietta High School juniors. The club purchased 25 laptops for students in January 2013 and another 20 this fall. Ashley Hayden, a senior at Marietta High School and the Air Force Junior ROTC Group Commander for her unit at the school, thanked the crowd for her laptop, which has helped her entire family. “My computer helped my mom get into college,” she

Top teachers in the district In the 2015-16 school year, Marietta City Schools will transition to a new method of paying its teachers, the first district to make such a move. Lembeck said eyes of educators statewide will be on the district to see how the implementation goes. Teachers are currently paid on a scale that weighs years of experience in the classroom and level of education teachers have received. The new system will now allow teachers who perform well in the classroom to make more money sooner in their careers. Marietta City School teachers will be paid based on their success in the classroom, and if they decide to return to school for advanced degrees, the system will help pay for their degrees, Lembeck said. Twenty-four teachers and students from the district’s 12 schools and one central office administrator were recognized by the Kiwanis Club during the event. Marietta Kiwanians were proud to be aligned with MCS, and they lingered at tables, decorated with schoolbooks and apples, after the speech. “There’s an atmosphere in the city system that any parent would want for their children. It’s like a family,” Tharpe said.



Ready From 4DD their next step forward. Accusations have also been made by the district’s former chief investigator, Mary Finlayson, who has accused Hinojosa’s top aides of improper conduct ranging from hiring based on race to pulling a teacher out of the classroom to work on doctorate degrees for administrators. Angelucci said she expects Hinojosa to provide the board with a full update on his investigation into the allegations. “There is a lot of ‘ifs’ here. We want to make sure we do the right thing. We are trying to keep everyone in the loop at once. It’s important that we are all together,” she said. Common Core’s future in Cobb While she said she doesn’t personally agree with the Common Core Standards, Angelucci doesn’t know what the board will do with the controversial program in the coming year. The board rejected spending $7.5 million on math textbooks that aligned with the Common Core standards in April, as members were not convinced of the effectiveness the standards would bring to Cobb’s already top-performing schools. Deal, who had vigorously defended the standards, pulled out of a Common Core testing mechanism in July. He has since asked the state school board to compare Common Core to the Georgia Performance Standards. “Georgia has the talent to develop our own standards. I think the federal government should stay

out of our state education,” Angelucci said. The Common Core Standards for math and English language arts were implemented in Georgia classrooms in fall 2012, replacing the Georgia Performance Standards. Since then, Angelucci and Scamihorn have heard from parents, students and community leaders who are frustrated with the new math curriculum. They say the time it takes to teach to the new standards is too lengthy, the curriculum is “watered down” and not challenging enough for many schools, and it takes children hours to do routine homework assignments. Scamihorn, a former technology teacher, estimated the ratio of people who liked Common Core to those who didn’t was 1:4. “I’m not in favor of Common Core,” Scamihorn said, “Education should be local.” Scamihorn said he would rather give back the roughly $400 million federal Race to the Top funds that came with the adoption of Common Core if the federal government would allow Cobb to go back to using the Georgia Performance Standards. “I do not personally support Common Core. You usurp the state’s rights to set its own standards. This came from outside the states with financial strings attached,” Angelucci said. The two are waiting to see what the state does before they make a move to repeal Common Core in Cobb. Charter system or status quo? The state Board of Education has asked each of the state’s 181

school districts to formally declare what sort of system they intend to become by June 2015, and Angelucci said discussions will start now as to where Cobb will go. Whether Cobb remains a traditional system or switches to a type of charter district will depend on a number of factors, most notably, the price tag of either move, Angelucci said. The board is getting advice from people on all sides of the education world. Angelucci said some are concerned Cobb, the state’s second-largest school district, may be too large to adequately implement any type of charter system. It would be difficult, Angelucci said, to determine how the board would effectively maintain local control over schools, if they were to become a charter system. Charter schools require an enormous amount of involvement from parents and private businesses who act within governing boards for each school. Angelucci said this may not be feasible in some of Cobb’s schools. “What is the end plan if we can’t keep our governing boards together?” Angelucci asked. However, becoming a charter system would allow Cobb to set its own regulations on class sizes, which have increased in the last number of years with budget cuts. As a public system, Cobb has been able to apply for waivers from the state, which allows them to squeeze extra students into classrooms above the state limit. These waivers will disappear in June 2015, and Cobb will have to start paying for those larger class sizes. “When the waivers go

away, it’s going to kill us financially,” she said. Whichever direction the board decides to go in, it will take time for the district to adjust. “It’s choosing the lesser of all evils,” Scamihorn said, as each choice would come with benefits, as well as detriments. If the board agrees it wants to become a charter system, it would need to send a petition to the state Department of Education to be approved. Board members are already divided on where they want the district to move, with David Morgan pushing to become a charter system, and Angelucci and Scamihorn hesitant to make any drastic changes. Morgan has served as a paid lobbyist for charter schools in the past. School funding — what does this mean? Deal announced in January he intends to increase education spending by $547 million next year, $314 million of which are new funds, but Angelucci is wary of his intentions. She said she welcomes the extra cash this year, but is concerned that it could be “a one-time, election year deal.” After years of austerity cuts to state schools, which began in 2002 under former Gov. Sonny Perdue, the state has withheld roughly $7 billion from schools, forcing districts to cut the length of the school year and cram more students into classrooms. “I’ve heard 19 school districts are on the brink of insolvency. That should alarm everybody,” Angelucci said. The first place any extra money will go is to reducing the number of furlough days for teach-


KATHLEEN ANGELUCCI Elected: November 2010 Age: 52 Spouse: Jay Children: Tony, Cera, Laura Best way to contact: Email: Kangelucci.boardmember@

RANDY SCAMIHORN Elected: November 2012 Age: 64 Spouse: Debbie Children: Allen, Amy Best way to contact: Phone: (770) 337-8553

ers, increasing the length of the school year and reducing class sizes, she promised. The board is waiting on a report from Hinojosa that will break down what Deal’s education dollars will mean for Cobb. “We take the money we have and try to do the best job we can,” she added. Scamihorn said the board wouldn’t use a single penny of this year’s budget on extra expenses. If there were extra funds left over after balancing the budget, reducing furlough days, increasing the length of the school year and decreasing class sizes, Scamihorn said he would like to see the

board give a pay raise to teachers. Keep board and community informed Angelucci said her main objective is to keep her fellow board members informed. It isn’t her job as chairwoman to get everybody to agree with her, rather, it is to keep her board members up to speed on what is going on throughout the district’s schools. Members are bound to disagree on some issues, she said. Her 2014 goals are to keep everyone on the same page, keep the personal side out of board decisions, and to keep the community informed.




GROWING TOGETHER Protests cannot stop Southern Poly merging with Kennesaw State By Rachel Gray


espite thousands of signatures petitioning against a merger and protesters bused from Cobb to downtown Atlanta, the State Board of Regents decided at the end of 2013 to consolidate two local colleges.

The merger of Kennesaw State University and Southern Polytechnic State University will require approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in December. The process of combining the schools is expected to be complete by August 2015, but the two universities will operate under the KSU name starting next January. When the announcement about the consolidation was made at the beginning of November, many SPSU students gathered on campus to share concerns about class sizes, changes in tuition and the reputation of their degrees. Then, on Nov. 12, more than 50 students protesting in downtown Atlanta wondered if their voices were even heard after a unanimous vote by the Board of Regents made the merger plan official. At that meeting, three

alumni and student representatives of SPSU addressed the Board of Regents before the vote. They said the board had not done its homework to prove the case for a merger. Austin Clayton, president of the SPSU Student Government Association, said there has been no data on how the merger will benefit the SPSU campus, metro Atlanta or Georgia, or any indication that possible negative consequences have been researched. “We want to know why, and we want to know how,” Clayton said. Reasons for the merger Associate Vice Chancellor Shelley Nickel has led the consolidation of eight USG institutions into four in an effort to reduce administrative costs and relieve some of the burden on state funding of higher education. None of the previous USG mergers have been in metro Atlanta. KSU is in unincorporated Cobb County near Kennesaw off Interstate 75. Ten miles away is SPSU in Marietta, south of the 120 Loop. Prior to the vote, the Board of Regents received a letter from the Cobb Chamber of Commerce offering its ringing endorsement of the merger. One of the most contentious points of the merger was having both schools operate under the Kennesaw State University name. Nickels also said it was a benefit to have the Board of Regents decide on the consolidated name of Kennesaw State University.

The Associated Press

Southern Polytechnic State University President Dr. Lisa Rossbacher addresses a gathering of students, faculty and staff on the commons area outside Joe Mack Wilson Student Center on Nov. 1 to announce that SPSU would be merging with Kennesaw State University. The SPSU name will officially be done away with and the merged school will be called Kennesaw State University. However, she admitted “the people from Southern Polytechnic have angst about that.” In the past, Nickels said having a consolidation team pick a merged name “created havoc.” On Jan. 13, KSU presented a “preliminary draft of a possible college structure,” which gave the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology the Southern Polytechnic moniker. But the College of Computing and Software Engineering and the College of Architecture and Construction Management did not have the distinction.

KSU President Dan Papp said after the consolidation there will be “zero threat” of closing down a degree program because of lack of interest or low graduation rates. The fall 2013 enrollment of KSU and SPSU combined is 31,178 students, just shy of Georgia State University’s 32,087 enrollment number. Enrollment at Southern Polytechnic State University alone, which was founded 65 years ago to focus on the practical application of science, engineering and technology, has just above 6,500 students. Kennesaw State Univer-

sity, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in October, is the third-largest university in the University System of Georgia. Planning the merger The University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby appointed the members of a Consolidation Implementation Committee, 13 from SPSU and 13 from KSU. Although the core implementation committee of 28 members has already met a few times, an expanded group of 40 people, ranging from administrative staff, department chairs and deans from both schools, met for

the first time in January. The extended group will finalize the merged vision and mission statements, as well as the organizational structure for the consolidated university. The target date to complete the necessary documents was Feb. 14, said Papp, in order to get the proposed pieces on the Board of Regents agenda in April. Rossbacher said everyone at SPSU and KSU needs to get current and consistent information. “Something that has been clear to me from the very beginning is communication,” Rossbacher said.






PROGRESS 2014 Left: Mount Paran Christian School Headmaster Dr. David Tilley spends a moment during the lunch hour at the school with sixth-graders Jordyn Tyler, Ana Lisa Love and Zachary Butler as Tilley made his rounds at the campus located on Stanley Road in Kennesaw on Feb. 6. Below: Tilley spends a moment with high school student Thatcher Rogers and middle school student Ben Tyler. Tilley says being at Mount Paran has special significance for him in this, his second stint at the school. He began his tenure with the school in the early years at Mount Paran, then went on to work within the Cobb County School System as a principal and an administrator. He also worked at Lee University in Tennessee and Houghton College in New York.  Staff/Kelly J. Huff

Student body feels the love at Mount Paran Christian School By Marty M. Hohmann Special to the MDJ

KENNESAW — It’s not often you hear a high school student say they didn’t enjoy having snow days off because they missed being at school. But Mount Paran Christian School sophomore Taylor Trammell said just that. “You want to come to school here,” he says. “It was the best decision I’ve ever made (coming to the school his freshman year.)” Trammell is not alone in his love for his school and the teachers and administrators who invest in the lives of each of Mount Paran’s approximately 1,200 students in pre-K through 12th grade. Senior Mallory Pettet, who has attended since fourth grade, says that the school is unique for a number of reasons. “The main thing is the familyand Christ-centered atmosphere,” she says. “One of the themes the past two years has been ‘to be known deeply.’ Every thread in the tapestry of the school is to be known deeply.” That sense of being known, cared for, loved and invested in comes from the top down, from Headmaster Dr. David Tilley to all of the teachers, from seniors to the youngest student. “This is a place where relationships thrive,” says Tilley. Parents who want academic excellence and a Christ-centered environment know Mount Paran Christian School, which has been in existence since 1976, is

the place to look. “We do not believe there is any need to compromise academic excellence for a Christcentered environment,” Tilley says. In fact, recognizing the need to continue the kind of academic and faith-based instruction they offer led Tilley to create the high school in 1987. “I was young and what can’t you do in your 30s and 40s?” he laughs. “So we started a high school.” Trammell is glad he did. Before he decided on Mount Paran, he had the opportunity that all prospective students will have, which is to shadow another student with common interests. “All my life I’ve really loved law,” says Trammell. He was matched with another like-minded student, who became an immediate friend. He says it is easy to make friends at the school because everyone is welcoming. Seniors befriend freshmen. Middle school students help nurture fourth-graders. Trammell is now a part of the mock trial team that competed in the district championship in February. He is also a standout in baseball and is being pursued by both Duke and the University of Georgia. He says Mount Paran was the perfect fit for him because “I want to learn and I want to build my faith in Christ.” Tilley says being at Mount Paran has special significance for him in this, his second stint at the school. He began his

tenure with the school in the early years at Mount Paran, then went on to work within the Cobb County School System as a principal and an administrator. He also worked at Lee University in Tennessee and Houghton College in New York. He was on track for a college presidency, but he got a call offering him the headmaster position on the same day as the offer of a college gig. He chose to come home to Mount Paran. “It’s a dream, it’s a passion, it’s a calling,” he says. “I have loved it. I am passionate about this place. It’s where I’ll retire, obviously. This is home.” Unapologetically Christian And while the school only takes families who profess a belief in Jesus Christ, Tilley makes clear that academics are top notch. “We’re unapologetically, uncompromisingly Christian,” he says. “And we must be exemplary in everything, including academics.” To that end, all teachers from Pre-K through 12 are certified and “share a common vision, have a common faith, they have intellectual acumen, and are ready to impart truth to the children they love,” says Tilley. Mount Paran Christian School has the stated mission to provide an emotionally safe and spiritually safe place, while providing academic discipline. “Mount Paran seeks to grow intellect

and faith as one,” he notes. One way they achieve that goal is by small class sizes and teachers who connect with and take an interest in each of their students. Teachers at the school receive the highest praise from Tilley, as well as the students. “The most important thing the head of a school does is hire well,” he says. “There are reasons people pick other schools and there are reasons people pick Mount Paran.” He points to a survey among Christian parents that revealed the numberone item parents wanted from their child’s education was a focus on being unapologetically Christian. “The point of it is that everything we do, from curriculum development to discipline to the arts, is all bathed in a Christian worldview.” As a result, he says, “faith becomes a part of your life. It’s not an adjunct, it’s not an add on. It’s that transformation in the lives of these kids,” Tilley adds. “It doesn’t get any better than that!” Tilley says students in many schools are merely spectators. At Mount Paran, students are encouraged to find their interests and gifts and pursue them. Most students are involved in some sort of athletic program. The school also has a state-of-theart performance hall and auditorium. There are mock trial teams, robotics teams, dance, music, theater, internships and so much more on the 65acre campus on Stilesboro

Road in the shadow of Kennesaw Mountain. Emma Perry, an eighthgrader who is starring in the school’s production of Pirates of Penzance Junior and was named an AllStar at the Junior Theater Festival, says, “MPCS is a place that is welcoming. As a Christian, I am able to use my talents to honor God, and everyone ‘gets it.’ Everyone accepts why I do what I do. Sure, other schools have good arts programs, but MPCS has the right path for me because it is a Christian environment. I also like being able to perform on the stages of the Murray Arts Center, in the Kristi Lynn Theatre and in the Black Box Theater; I don’t think any other middle schoolers around here have opportunities like this in the arts.” Community service expected Another cornerstone of Mount Paran Christian School is a commitment to serve the community. Tilley says the goal is to “develop servant leaders” and that is reflected in their motto, “To honor God, Serve others, Walk in Truth.” “We’re trying to instill in them the culture of giving as opposed to the culture of getting,” he says. To that end, students spend many hours in volunteer service to area ministries, such as Calvary Children’s Home and MUST Ministries. Students even create their own outlets for service. Pettet, for instance, is one of the student leaders in a ministry called promRED, an MPCS initiative to end human trafficking and slavery.

Mount Paran Christian School FOUNDED: 1976; high school added in 1987 GRADES: Pre-K through 12 LOCATION: 1275 Stanley Road NW, off Stilesboro Road, Kennesaw ENROLLMENT: About 1,200 students HEADMASTER: Dr. David Tilley Mount Paran Christian School is prepared for growth and to continue to serve their community and each other. Already underway are plans for a capital campaign to erect a couple of new buildings on campus, including an expansion of the high school to include a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) wing. Additionally, a stadium is part of the larger plan. One student who plans to stick around to see it all happen is Reagan Davis, a fourth-grader in the ENCORE gifted class taught by Robyn Settlemeyer. She has been at Mount Paran Christian since Pre-K. Her favorite subject is language arts, she loves gymnastics, and she really loves her school. “I like that it is a Christian school and that it has a lot of my favorite teachers,” she says. “I want to stay here until high school.”




‘Better to watch Shakespeare than read Shakespeare’ Marietta arts center opens to round of applause By Hannah Morgan


hakespeare’s ancient love-triangle drama, written centuries ago, came to life for Marietta High School students at a performance by a professional Atlanta theater group in January.

Atlanta-based Shakespeare Tavern performed “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the school’s new Performing Arts Center on Jan. 9 to a packed 757-member student audience, and stuck around Marietta for a community show that night. The new, state-of-theart, $9 million performance space opened in August, and has been visited by a number of professional Atlanta-based performance groups. In an effort to supplement the students’ education, school Principal Leigh Colburn hopes to continue playing host to professional arts groups at the school’s center. The auditorium was standing-room-only that Wednesday afternoon, while junior and senior students cheered as characters fell in and out of love, kissed, fought and killed themselves on stage. Ongoing relationship with students The January performance was the second time the theater group visited the school, as a number of actors worked through role-plays and character studies with

English classes at a December workshop. The workshop and performance were a way to boost the students’ knowledge and understanding of Shakespeare, as many senior English classes read “Macbeth” earlier this year, Colburn said. “It’s better to watch Shakespeare than read Shakespeare,” she added. Tony Brown, the show’s director, hoped by watching the show, students would better be able to identify the emotions expressed through the somewhat-foreign iambic pentameter. “When they see Shakespeare, they learn how to put language to their emotions,” Brown said, adding Shakespeare’s plays “connect us with the narrative of humanity.” Hayley Platt, who played the character Puck, said it was important for her to perform in front of high school students because it was in high school that she first became interested in Shakespeare. Many students don’t know how “magical” Shakespeare’s plays are until they watch them performed live, Platt said. “These plays were

Staff/Kelly J. Huff

Marietta High School Principal Leigh Colburn, Superintendent Dr. Emily Lembeck and Performing Arts Center Director David Dubose try out the stage of the new auditorium inside the new Performing Arts Center at the high school. meant to be heard, not read,” she said. Peter Egede, a 17-yearold senior was impressed the performance had so much energy, as he didn’t get a sense of the comedies from just reading parts of the script. He especially loved the scene where many of the characters pretended to kill themselves. Lawton Ward, an 18-year-old senior, said he found Shakespeare boring when he read the play. Watching the play changed his mind. “Shakespeare language is hard already,” said Muna Animeka, also a senior. Watching it performed helped make the language a bit easier to understand, he said. New $9 million center, built with public and school funds The performance space cost $9 million to construct, of which $7 million came from a bond

approved by Marietta residents in February 2012, said Marietta City School Board Chairman Randy Weiner. Additional funds were provided by the school system. The auditorium is attached to the side of the school, l, and is fully equipped ipped with stateeof-the-art dance studios, dressing rooms and chorus us rooms. Because se the center was built with both public and private funds, the school hopes to use the space as a shared area for the school community and city residents, said Thomas Algarin, a spokesman for the system. By opening the space up to professional performance groups from Atlanta, Colburn hopes

students will get more substance from their education. “If we can get the best in the region and the best in the nation to come here and educate our kids, why not do it?” asked David Dubose, D the th manager ag of o the perforp mance m space. spac Watching Wa Shakespeare Shakesp life will come to li students bethelp studen ter understand understan the listening to play. By listen a professional orchesor tra, students can emulate their sounds in their own music classes, Colburn said. “Our goal is to make sure we are getting the kids the best education possible in all realms. Arts tie into all academics; if you give them better arts instruction, academics get better all-

around,” she said. Center partners with professional groups The Atlanta Shakespeare Co., while the first theater group to perform at the school, is not the only professional partnership the school has formed since the new center opened in August. The Georgia Ballet and the Georgia Symphony Orchestra have also performed at the center, Colburn said, and the school is working on having the Atlanta Opera perform at the school. The school also rents the space out to local community groups, said Dubose. It has been so popular, he said, the center is already completely booked each weekend from the end of January through June. As Caroline Ficken, a senior at the school, said, “If we build it, they will come.”




A penny saved ... SPLOST IV projected to bring in $717M for school improvements By Hannah Morgan

MARIETTA — A 1-cent sales tax approved by Cobb voters in March 2013 is expected to rake in more than $717 million for improvements to the district’s schools. For the next five years, pennies will be put aside for new lights, playgrounds and schools across Cobb, which will be allocated to a list of dozens of projects approved by the voters under the banner of “SPLOST IV.” The collection of the new tax did not begin until January 2014, as the previous education tax, SPLOST III, did not end until Dec. 31, 2013, and SPLOST IV Director Nick Parker said the district would not know how the first month’s collections were going until the end of February. Cobb is anticipating spending roughly $175 million on new schools, many of which would replace dilapidated structures built more than 60 years ago. Some of the top projects are two new elementary schools, a new building for Walton High School and potentially three career academies spread across the district. Completion dates have not yet been set for any of the projects, Parker said, although construction of a new Walton High School and renovations at Teasley Elementary and Wheeler High School are scheduled to begin by summer. Two elementary schools chosen The Cobb Board

of Education voted in February to rebuild Mountain View Elementary School, off Sandy Plains Road in Marietta, and Brumby Elementary School, off Powers Ferry Road, with SPLOST IV funds. The board also approved spending $9.4 million to buy a 35-acre plot off Terrell Mill Road, near the intersection of Delk Road, where Brumby is expected to be rebuilt. The address of the plot is 823 Terrell Mill Road, and the property now belongs to Beverly Graham Hill, W. Franklin and S. Diane Luttrell, John M. and Laura L. Hill, and Edward H. Hill Jr., said a spokesman for the district, Jay Dillon. The property has not yet been purchased, but Chris Ragsdale, a deputy superintendent, said the district expects to move ahead to purchase the land in the next one to two months. Each school is expected to cost $23.3 million, totaling $467 million of SPLOST IV funds, according to the SPLOST IV notebook. Wheeler High School Wheeler students can expect to have a new gym, performing arts theater and home-side seating in its football stadium by July 16, Ragsdale said. The district advertised for bids on the construction project this fall and by Oct. 15 construction companies had responded, according to the board agenda for Monday’s meeting. The board voted to select Atlanta-based Balfour Beatty Construction to

design and build Wheeler’s updates. Roughly $20 million of SPLOST IV funds have been earmarked by the district to be spent on Wheeler’s construction, Ragsdale said, of which $10,000 is to be spent on designing the new school and setting an exact construction cost. As soon as the board approves the construction group, Ragsdale said the design process would be underway, with construction to follow within the 2014 school year. Staff/Kelly J. Huff

Walton High School Future Walton students might be using bridges to get to class by July 2017, if all goes as planned at Walton’s east Cobb campus. The school, built in the late 1970s, is in need for some major improvements, said school Principal Judy McNeill. “We’re very, very excited for a new school. Walton was built very quickly as Cobb County was growing at such a fast pace,” McNeill said. Thirty years later, the school is outdated, haphazardly designed and crowded, she said. In October, McNeill said Walton had 2,730 students, too many for the existing space. It was more expensive to go throughout the school and make all of the needed adjustments than just build a new school, McNeill added. The entire school is expected to be rebuilt, starting this May, said McNeill, and will include a bigger orchestra room and auditorium than

Cobb County Schools Executive Director for SPLOST IV Nick Parker and Deputy Superintendent of Operations and Support Chris Ragsdale, look over building blueprints of future school building constructions and renovations within the district using the funding of SPLOST IV. students have now, as well as a separate building for classrooms, connected to the rest of the school by bridges. Roughly $40 million has been set aside with projected SPLOST IV funds to pay for the new building, according to Monday night’s agenda. The board approved hiring Atlanta-based Gilbane Building Co. to design and build the new school. Twelve construction companies submitted bids for the project, according to Monday’s agenda. Dirt will be moved and construction is expected to begin this May, but the school is not planned to be completed until July 2017, McNeill said. The new school is planned to be built where the softball diamond and tennis courts are now, and construction will go on while Walton students continue to

use their current building. Teasley Elementary School Teasley Elementary School, which reported having 740 students in 2012, is quickly growing, Ragsdale said. When SPLOST IV plans were being drawn up in last year, Teasley was tagged to get a 10-classroom addition. This August, an additional 10 classrooms had to be added to the plans to accommodate the student growth at the Smyrna school, Ragsdale said. In addition to the new classrooms, Teasley students will soon have a new gym and a bigger cafeteria and kitchen, according to the district. Eighteen construction companies bid on the Teasley project, and Atlanta-based Balfour Beatty Construction was also selected to make the changes to the school, according to a recent agenda.

Major projects estimated costs Brumby Elementary Rebuild: $23.3 million Mountain View Elementary Rebuilt: $23.3 million Wheeler improvements: $19.2 million Teasley Elementary improvements: $3.1 million Osborne Rebuild: $29.9 million Walton Rebuild: $39.9 million Career Academy: $29.9 million




SPLOST From 12DD The board approved hiring Balfour Beatty, which is charging $10,000 to design and plan the school additions as well as set an official cost of the construction earlier this month. Roughly $3 million of SPLOST IV funds was earmarked for Teasley’s upgrades, but Ragsdale said the change in plans and additional 10 classrooms to be built will increase the estimated cost to $13.3 million. Construction is expected to begin as soon as possible, within the school year, Ragsdale said. The district was waiting for the board to approve the construction manager before plans could be made. The school improvements are anticipated to be complete by July 2015, Ragsdale said. Career Academy Update In addition to math, science and English classes, Cobb County students will

soon have the opportunity to enroll in classes such as nursing, computer repair, culinary arts or cosmetology. Within the next few years, three “career academies” will be built around the county, offering students technical and hands-on training for careers immediately after high school graduation, Superintendent Michael Hinojosa announced in December. While the majority of the details have not been finalized, Hinojosa said the district was planning on “regionalizing” the academies, placing one in west Cobb, one in northeast Cobb and another in south Cobb. The district initially planned to build just one career academy with SPLOST IV tax revenue, but the board changed its mind at the last minute, Hinojosa said. About $30 million of that money will be spent on the three academies, said Ragsdale. Hinojosa said the academies would be built into pre-existing high

schools, for roughly $10 million each, as wings to the schools where the career classes would be taught. While none of the details had been finalized, Hinojosa said students at Osborne High School would most likely be seeing a career academy added to their school. The board was considering a number of different schools in northeast and west Cobb as well, but Hinojosa would not identify the schools on the list. The classrooms are expected to open in 2017, Hinojosa said, and so far, the community has been supportive of the initiative. When more information is revealed, Cobb County students will have the opportunity to apply to any academy in which they are interested. The diverse, hands-on lessons might be the trick to keeping some kids in school longer, and on to a career path immediately after high school, the superintendent said. “For some kids, that’s exactly what they need: Hands-on learning,” Hinojosa said.

Staff/Jeff Stanton

Two Cobb Board of Education delegates as well as representatives from Walton High School were on hand in February to meet and discuss the school revamping project that should break ground later this year with money from SPLOST IV funds. They are, from left, David Banks, BOE member; Vonda Shoemaker, parent and president of the Walton Facilities Foundation; Scott Sweeney, Cobb BOE member representing the Walton district; Judy McNeill, Walton principal; and Patti Morgan, parent and a board member of the Walton Facilities Foundation.

2005 Stileboro Rd. Kennesaw, GA 30152

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Your schools Cobb County Elementary schools

Cheatham Hill Elementary

Clay Elementary

Hollydale Elementary

Acworth Elementary

1350 John Ward Road SW Marietta, 30064 Phone: (678) 594-8034

730 Boggs Road Mableton, 30126 Phone: (770) 819-2430

2901 Bayberry Drive Marietta, 30008 Phone: (678) 594-8143

Clarkdale Elementary

Compton Elementary

4725 Ewing Road Austell, 30106 Phone: (770) 819-2422

3450 New Macland Road Powder Springs, 30127 Phone: (770) 222-3700

International Academy of Smyrna

Clay Elementary

Davis Elementary

730 Boggs Road Mableton, 30126 Phone: (770) 819-2430

2433 Jamerson Road Marietta, 30066 Phone: (678) 494-7636

Compton Elementary

Dowell Elementary

3450 New Macland Road Powder Springs, 30127 Phone: (770) 222-3700

2121 West Sandtown Road Marietta, 30064 Phone: (678) 594-8059

Davis Elementary

Due West Elementary

865 Corner Road Powder Springs, 30127 Phone: (678) 594-8158

2433 Jamerson Road Marietta, 30066 Phone: (678) 494-7636

3900 Due West Road Marietta, 30064 Phone: (678) 594-8071

Kennesaw Charter School

Dowell Elementary

East Side Elementary

2121 West Sandtown Road Marietta, 30064 Phone: (678) 594-8059

3850 Roswell Road Marietta, 30062 Phone: (770) 578-7200

Due West Elementary

Eastvalley Elementary

3900 Due West Road Marietta, 30064 Phone: (678) 594-8071

2570 Lower Roswell Road Marietta, 30067 Phone: (770) 578-7214

4220 Cantrell Road Acworth, 30101 Phone: (770) 975-6600

Addison Elementary 3055 Ebenezer Road Marietta, 30066 Phone: (770) 578-2700

Argyle Elementary 2420 Spring Road Smyrna, 30080 Phone: (678) 842-6800

Austell Elementary 5600 Mulberry St. Austell, 30106 Phone: (770) 819-5804

Baker Elementary 2361 Baker Road, NW Acworth, 30101 Phone: (770) 975-6629

Bells Ferry Elementary 2600 Bells Ferry Road Marietta, 30066 Phone: (678) 594-8950

Belmont Hills Elementary 605 Glendale Place Smyrna, 30080 Phone: (678) 842-6810

Big Shanty Elementary 1575 Ben King Road Kennesaw, 30144 Phone: (678) 594-8023

East Side Elementary

Fair Oaks Elementary

3850 Roswell Road Marietta, 30062 Phone: (770) 578-7200

407 Barber Road Marietta, 30060 Phone: (678) 594-8080

Eastvalley Elementary

Ford Elementary

2570 Lower Roswell Road Marietta, 30067 Phone: (770) 578-7214

1345 Mars Hill Road Acworth, 30101 Phone: (678) 594-8092

Fair Oaks Elementary

Frey Elementary

407 Barber Road Marietta, 30060 Phone: (678) 594-8080

2865 Mars Hill Road Acworth, 30101 Phone: (770) 975-6655

Ford Elementary

Garrison Mill Elementary

Birney Elementary 775 Smyrna-Powder Springs St. Marietta, 30060 Phone: (678) 842-6824

Blackwell Elementary 3470 Canton Road Marietta, 30066 Phone: (678) 494-7600

1345 Mars Hill Road Acworth, 30101 Phone: (678) 594-8092

Brumby Elementary 1306 Powers Ferry Road Marietta, 30067 Phone: (770) 916-7070

Bullard Elementary 3656 Old Stilesboro Road Kennesaw, 30152 Phone: (678) 594-8720

Bryant Primary and Intermediate

Chalker Elementary

6800 Factory Shoals Road Mableton, 30126 Phone: (770) 819-2402

325 North Booth Road Kennesaw, 30144 Phone: (678) 494-7621

Bullard Elementary

Cheatham Hill Elementary

3656 Old Stilesboro Road Kennesaw, 30152 Phone: (678) 594-8720

1350 John Ward Road SW Marietta, 30064 Phone: (678) 594-8034

Chalker Elementary

4111 Wesley Chapel Road Marietta, 30062 Phone: (770) 642-5600

2144 South Cobb Drive Smyrna, 30080 Phone: (678) 370-0980

Keheley Elementary 1985 Kemp Road Marietta, 30066 Phone: (678) 494-7836

Kemp Elementary

3010 Cobb Parkway Kennesaw, 30144 Phone: (678) 290-9628

Kennesaw Elementary 3155 Jiles Road Kennesaw, 30144 Phone: (678) 290-9628

Kincaid Elementary 1410 Kincaid Road Marietta, 30066 Phone: (770) 578-7238

King Springs Elementary 1041 Reed Road Smyrna, 30082 Phone: (678) 842-6944

LaBelle Elementary 230 Cresson Drive Marietta, 30060 Phone: (678) 842-6955

Lewis Elementary 4179 Jim Owens Road Kennesaw, 30152 Phone: (770) 975-6673

Green Acres Elementary

Mableton Elementary

2000 Gober Ave. Smyrna, 30080 Phone: (678) 842-6905

5220 Church St. Mableton, 30126 Phone: (770) 819-2513

Harmony Leland Elementary

McCall Elementary

5891 Dodgen Road Mableton, 30126 Phone: (770) 819-2483

4496 Dixie Ave. Acworth, 30101 Phone: (770) 975-6775

Hayes Elementary

Milford Elementary

Awtrey Middle School

1725 Bill Murdock Road Marietta, 30062 Phone: (770) 578-2726

Marietta, 30062 Phone: (770) 578-72251

Marietta, 30066 Phone: (770) 928-5560

Lindley Sixth Grade Academy

McClure Middle School

Campbell Middle School 3295 South Atlanta Road Smyrna, 30080 Phone: (678) 842-6873

Cooper Middle School 4605 Ewing Road Austell, 30106 Phone: (770) 819-2438

Daniell Middle School 2900 Scott Road Marietta, 30066 Phone: (678) 594-8048

Dickerson Middle School 855 Woodlawn Drive Marietta, 30068 Phone: (770) 578-2710

East Cobb Middle School 380 Holt Road Marietta, 30068 Phone: (770) 578-2740

Floyd Middle School 4803 Floyd Road Mableton, 30126 Phone: (770) 819-2453

Garrett Middle School 5235 Austell-Powder Springs Road Austell, 30106 Phone: (770) 819-2466

Griffin Middle School 4010 King Springs Road Smyrna, 30082 Phone: (678) 842-6917

Sedalia Park Elementary

2320 Murdock Road Marietta, 30062 Phone: (770) 509-5071

2230 Lower Roswell Road Marietta, 30067 Phone: (770) 509-5162

Nicholson Elementary

Shallowford Falls Elementary

1599 Shallowford Road Marietta, 30066 Phone: (770) 928-5573

1550 Pebblebrook Circle Mableton, 30126 Phone: (770) 578-7225

Lindley Middle School 50 Veterans Memorial Highway Mableton, 30126 Phone: (770) 819-2496

Lost Mountain Middle School 700 Old Mountain Road Kennesaw, 30152 Phone: (678) 594-8224

Lovinggood Middle School 3825 Luther Ward Road Powder Springs, 30127 Phone: (678) 331-3015

Mabry Middle School 2700 Jims Road Marietta, 30066 Phone: (770) 928-5546

Hightower Trail Middle School

McCleskey Middle School

3905 Post Oak Tritt Road

4080 Maybreeze Road

3660 Old Stilesboro Road Kennesaw, 30152 Phone: (678) 331-8131

Palmer Middle School 690 North Booth Road Kennesaw, 30144 Phone: (770) 591-5020

Pine Mountain Middle School 2720 Pine Mountain Circle Kennesaw, 30152 Phone: (678) 594-8252

Simpson Middle School 3340 Trickum Road Marietta, 30066 Phone: (770) 971-4711

Smitha Middle School 2025 Powder Springs Road Marietta, 30064 Phone: (678) 594-8267

Tapp Middle School 3900 Macdonia Road Powder Springs, 30127 Phone: (770) 222-3758

4555 Mavell Road SE Smyrna, 30082 Phone: (678) 842-5814

Norton Park Elementary 3041 Gray Road Smyrna, 30082 Phone: (678) 842-5833

Pickett’s Mill Elementary 6400 Old Stilesboro Road Acworth, 30101 Phone: (770) 975-6673

Allatoona High School 3300 Dallas-Acworth Highway Acworth, 30101 Phone: (770) 529-7743

Campbell High School 5265 Ward St. Smyrna, 30080 Phone: (678) 842-6850

Kell High School 4770 Lee Waters Road Marietta, 30066 Phone: (678) 494-7844

Kennesaw Mountain High School

North Cobb High School

South Cobb High School

3400 Highway 293 North Kennesaw, 30144 Phone: (770) 975-6685

1920 Clay Road Austell, 30106 Phone: (770) 819-2611

Osborne High School

Sprayberry High School

1898 Kennesaw-Due West Road Kennesaw, 30152 Phone: (678) 594-8190

2451 Favor Road Marietta, 30060 Phone: (770) 437-5900

Walton High School

2525 Sandy Plains Road Marietta, 30066 Phone: (770) 578-3200

Lassiter High School

Pebblebrook High School

4500 Due West Road Kennesaw, 30152 Phone: (678) 594-8104

2601 Shallowford Road Marietta, 30066 Phone: (678) 494-7863

991 Old Alabama Road Mableton, 30126 Phone: (770) 819-2521

1590 Bill Murdock Road Marietta, 30062 Phone: (770) 578-3225

Hillgrove High School

McEachern High School

Pope High School

Wheeler High School

3001 Hembree Road Marietta, 30062 Phone: (770) 578-7900

375 Holt Road Marietta, 30068 Phone: (770) 578-3266

Harrison High School

4165 Luther Ward Road Powder Springs, 30127 Phone: (678) 331-3961

2400 New Macland Road Powder Springs, 30127 Phone: (770) 222-3710

Smyrna Elementary School 1099 Fleming St. Smyrna, GA 30080 Phone: (678) 842-6741

Sope Creek Elementary 3320 Paper Mill Road Marietta, 30064 Phone: (770) 916-7085

Still Elementary

Pitner Elementary

870 Casteel Road Powder Springs, 30127 Phone: (678) 594-8287

4575 Wade Green Road Acworth, 30101 Phone: (678) 594-8320

Teasley Elementary (2-5)

Powder Springs Elementary

3640 Spring Hill Road Smyrna, 30080 Phone: (770) 437-5945

4570 Grady Grier Road Powder Springs, 30127 Phone: (770) 222-3746

Powers Ferry Elementary 403 Powers Ferry Road Marietta, 30067 Phone: (770) 578-7936

Riverside Intermediate 285 South Gordon Road Mableton, 30126 Phone: (770) 819-2553

Riverside Primary

Teasley Primary (K-1) Formerly Brown Elementary 3265 Brown Road Smyrna, 30080 Phone: (770) 437-5945

Timber Ridge Elementary 5000 Timber Ridge Road Marietta, 30068 Phone: (770) 642-5621

Tritt Elementary

461 South Gordon Road Mableton, 30126 Phone: (770) 819-5851

4435 Post Oak Tritt Road Marietta, 30062 Phone: (770) 642-5630

Rocky Mount Elementary

Varner Elementary

2400 Rocky Mountain Road Marietta, 30066 Phone: (770) 591-5050

4761 Gaydon Road Powder Springs, 30127 Phone: (770) 222-3775

Vaughan Elementary 5950 Nichols Road Powder Springs, 30127 Phone: (678) 594-8298

Marietta City Schools Elementary schools A.L. Burruss Elementary School 325 Manning Road Marietta GA 30064 Phone: (770) 429-3144 Julie King, principal

Dunleith Elementary School 120 Saine Drive Marietta GA 30008 Phone: (770) 429-3190 Sarah Towler, principal

Hickory Hills Elementary School 500 Redwood Drive SW Marietta GA 30064 Phone: (770) 429-3125 Kristen Beaudin, principal

Lockheed Elementary School

High schools

3529 Lassiter Road Marietta, 30062 Phone: (770) 642-5610

Nickajack Elementary

3920 South Hurt Road Smyrna, 30082

Dodgen Middle School

1550 Anderson Mill Road SW Austell, 30106 Phone: (770) 819-2568

Murdock Elementary

1210 Johnson Ferry Road Marietta, 30068

Middle schools

4222 Cantrell Road Acworth, 30101 Phone: (770) 975-6764

3448 Sandy Plains Road Marietta, 30066 Phone: (770) 578-7265

Russell Elementary

5243 Meadows Road Powder Springs, 30127 Phone: (770) 819-2387

2891 Mars Hill Rod NW Acworth, 30101 Phone: (770) 975-6641

Sanders Elementary

Mount Bethel Elementary

Hendricks Elementary

4725 Ewing Road Austell, 30106 Phone: (770) 819-2422

Barber Middle School

Mountain View Elementary

2390 Austell Road Marietta, 30008 Phone: (678) 842-6966

Clarkdale Elementary

Durham Middle School

Phone: (770) 437-5937

1501 Kennesaw-Due West Road Kennsaw, 30152 Phone: (678) 594-8127

325 North Booth Road Kennesaw, 30144 Phone: (678) 494-7621

3601 Nowlin Road Kennesaw, 30144 Phone: (770) 975-6615

Phone: (770) 578-7248

1205 Merritt Road Marietta GA 30062 Phone: (770) 429-3196 Dr. Devonne Harper, principal

Park Street Elementary School 105 Park St. SE Marietta GA 30060 Phone: (770) 429-3180 Corey Lawson, principal

Sawyer Road Elementary School 840 Sawyer Road Marietta, GA 30062 Phone: (770)429-9923 Debbie Burley, principal

West Side Elementary

School 344 Polk Street NW Marietta GA 30064 Phone: (770) 429-3172 Dr. Karen Smits, principal

Marietta Center for Advanced Academics 311 Aviation Road Marietta GA 30060 Phone: (770) 420-0822 Jennifer Hernandez, principal

Middle schools Marietta Sixth Grade Academy 340 Aviation Road SE Marietta GA 30060 Phone: (770) 429-3115 Gabe Carmona, principal

Marietta Middle School 121 Winn St. NW Marietta GA 30064 Phone: (770) 422-0311 Forrestella Taylor, principal

High schools Marietta High School 1171 Whitlock Ave. SW Marietta GA 30064 Phone: (770) 428-2631 Leigh Colburn, principal

Marietta Performance Learning Center 353-B Lemon St. Marietta GA 30060 Phone: (770) 429-3188 Tammie Roach, Academic Coordinator




Ga.’s largest technical college in your backyard By Marty M. Hohmann Special to the MDJ

MARIETTA — A high school student is pondering his future. Where should I go to school and what should I do? Most importantly, how will I pay for it? A recently laid-off worker is rethinking her life. What now? Cobb Countians and those in the surrounding area need not look any farther than their own backyard, home to the state’s largest technical college. Chattahoochee Technical College, with three campuses in Cobb and five others in surrounding areas, is the largest of the 25 technical colleges in the university system. Locations serving more than 17,000 students during the last academic year were in the counties of Bartow, Cherokee, Cobb, Gilmer, Paulding and Pickens counties. And the main campus on South Cobb Drive near Atlanta Road in Marietta is preparing to celebrate its 50-year history. Gone are the days of the vocational school, where offerings were little more than automotive repair and welding. Today’s technical college community has a treasure-trove of offerings available for half the cost of a four-year university. Chattahoochee Technical College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate degrees and offers a full slate of campus activities and events. It is also home of the Golden Eagles, NJCAA men and women’s basketball and cross-country teams, as well as a multitude of intramural sports. An associate degree from Chattahoochee Technical College in Television Production Technology could land you a job with the Weather Channel, CNN or WSB-TV. Degrees are also available in accounting, business administration technology, criminal justice, drafting, electrical engineering and health sciences. The options are vast and the level of education is on par with the more expensive educational options. A great place to start at ‘half the price’ “We’re very proud of what we do,” says Dr. Ron

Newcomb, president of Chattahoochee Technical College. “We want Chattahoochee Tech to be embraced as a twoyear technical community college.” With approximately onethird of students seeking technical degrees, one-third seeking health degrees and one-third seeking an academic program, the college boasts a good mix of options, no matter the career path. And, Newcomb notes, at half the price of four-year universities. Tuition per semester for a Georgia resident taking 15 credit hours or more is $1,541, contrasted with a local four-year college, which costs around $3,500 per semester. “Thousands of students enroll in our classes and programs at our eight campuses and online,” says Newcomb. And, he notes, the education they will receive will feature small class sizes, industry-specific technology and a community focus. Perhaps most importantly, adds Jennifer Nelson, vice president of external affairs, “our students are ready for work day one.” And if they are not planning to go right to work but rather transfer to a four-year university, they will have all the core components needed to jump right into their majors. “It shouldn’t just be ‘I’m here to get attached to a college.’ It should be ‘I’m here to get a degree or a job,’” says Newcomb. “A lot of feet have walked at Chattahoochee Tech (over the years) and they are walking here with a purpose.” Steering students toward a goal Many students, he says, are coming out of high school with no career plan. “It’s so important to steer students toward a goal. We have to be clear with our mission. You can’t just go to school,” he says. For that reason, Chattahoochee Technical College partners with local high schools to help students begin to think toward their future goals. “We have a lot of high schoolers who do dual enrollment,” says Nelson. “We work a lot with the high schools to get them involved in our classes.” Much of the time that class work can be achieved

through online classes. Dual enrollment allows the student to receive both high school and college credits simultaneously. Newcomb is keenly tuned in to what the business world is looking for and the kinds of graduates they need to produce at Chattahoochee Tech. “We offer programs in demand by the industry,” he said. Health care workers in demand One industry demanding a steady stream of new talent is the health care industry, which is the largest segment of the school’s student body. To better provide the training this segment requires, Newcomb is spearheading an effort to have a building on the Marietta campus dedicated to health sciences. The main Marietta campus serves the most densely populated of the college’s service area. According to the plan for the proposed Health Education Center, the facility would “allow the college to house multiple Health Sciences programs. A new building would give the college an opportunity to expand the use of technology in its Health Sciences programs.” The new facility will also house new programs at the school — Electroneurodiagnostic technology, dental assisting, respiratory therapy and diagnostic sonography. The $21 million project is in the early stages but moving forward. Newcomb is working with state Rep. Sam Teasley (R-Marietta) to acquire $1.72 million this legislative session for the pre-planning phase of the project, such as the architectural designs. While the actual completion of the project is three to four years down the road, the initial investment would allow the school to be a year ahead in the preparation. Financial aid opportunities abound Moving forward, Newcomb is gratified to see many students recognize the value of attending a community college to help them achieve their career goals. And while technical colleges are much more affordable, they also offer financial aid to ensure students can get an education with minimal out-of-pocket costs. The

Staff/Kelly J. Huff

Above: Chattahoochee Technical College President Ron Newcomb is guiding the college into its’ next stages, including a new proposed Health Care Center to meet the needs of employers who are seeking the best educated workers. Below: Chattahoochee Technical College Adjunct Math Professor Bill Feinberg works with Smyrna resident and CTC student Jessica Packer on her math assignment. HOPE Grant, much like the HOPE Scholarship, can help pay the tuition and fees for Georgia residents who attend technical institutions. “More than ever, the governor and General Assembly are emphasizing the importance of the HOPE Grant and technical education,” said Newcomb. ‘We’re very proud of the technical education

we offer and we want people to understand that Chattahoochee Technical College should be their first choice for a two-year school leading to a job or diploma.” For Newcomb, who said he grew up in a poor, working-class family that stressed the importance of education, helping others obtain a quality education is a lifelong pursuit.

“I’ve always had a passion for it,” he says. “There is no child or young adult who shouldn’t have the opportunity to develop what can be developed.” For more information about the programs offered at Chattahoochee Technical College or to apply for admission, visit www.

Campus Locations Appalachian Campus 100 Campus Drive, Jasper (706) 253.4500 Austell Campus 1578 Veterans Memorial Highway, Austell Canton Campus 1645 Bluffs Parkway, Canton (770) 345.0172 Marietta Campus 980 South Cobb Drive, Marietta (770) 528.4545 Mountain View Campus 2680 Gordy Parkway, Marietta (770) 509.6305 North Metro Campus 5198 Ross Road, Acworth (770) 975.4000 Paulding Campus 400 Nathan Dean Blvd., Dallas (770) 443.3600 Woodstock Campus 8371 Main St., Woodstock Classroom facility only, no office Associate Degree Programs of Study Accounting Automotive Technology Business Administration Technology Business Management Clinical Laboratory Technology Computer Information Systems Technology Criminal Justice Technology

Culinary Arts Design and Media Production Technology Drafting Technology Early Childhood Care and Education Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology Environmental Technology Fire Science Technology Health Information Technology Horticulture Interiors Logistics and Supply Chain Management Marketing Management Medical Assisting Nursing, Associate of Science Nursing, Associate of Science, LPNASN Bridge Option Occupational Therapy Assistant Paramedicine Physical Therapist Assistant Radiography Surgical Technology Television Production Technology

LIFE University: ‘The not-so-little university that is changing the world’ By Marty M. Hohmann Special to the MDJ

MARIETTA — LIFE University has been described as “the not-so-little university that is changing the world,” and it is out to do just that, one life at a time. When Dr. Guy Riekeman came on board as president of the university located off Cobb Parkway in Marietta in 2004, he was asked to turn around a school that had fallen on hard times financially. Feeding off his enthusiasm for the task, LIFE has become a nationally recognized university and a standout among proponents of the philosophy known as vitalism. This philosophy centers on the idea that humans are spiritual beings whose lives are directed by universal laws including the natural, vitalistic, innate ability to develop, heal and adapt as long as the body is kept free of interference. With that mission as its driving force, LIFE has attracted international attention. Even the Dalai Lama has taken notice of the Marietta institution and talks are underway for him to make a visit, possibly later this year. “I had a private audience with him when he was here a couple of months ago” at Emory University, Riekeman said. Vitalism “is literally what motivates everything here,” says Riekeman. “We start with a great respect for the human body.” According to the university website, “Vitalism

is the understanding and principle that all living systems are self-organizing, self-developing, selfmaintaining and selfhealing.” Riekeman explains that it is the foundational building block of a wellness philosophy and all studies at LIFE University build from that foundation. With a plan designed to carry the school through the year 2020 and armed with a $80 million campaign budget, the not-so-little school is making a significant impact on the community, the country, and the world with satellite studies taking place in Costa Rica and China. Largest chiropractic university Most recognize LIFE University as the largest chiropractic university in the world. Through the years, LIFE University grew and transformed into a university offering 14 health-focused undergraduate and graduate programs side-by-side with the chiropractic offerings on its 104-acre campus. It is a SACS-accredited institution that offers an “authentic” college experience, with intercollegiate sports, on-campus housing and dining, student clubs and organizations and more. Bachelor’s degrees are offered in a number of study areas. They are biology, biopsychology, business administration, computer information management, dietetics, exercise science, general education and transitional

studies, health coaching, nutrition, psychology and the pre-doctor of chiropractic program. Graduate programs include chiropractic sport science, exercise sport science, nutrition and sport health science, sport coaching, sport injury management, sport injury management (entry-level athletic training). As is evident from the master’s program options, sports are important at LIFE and are a big part of the wellness philosophy. “We take care of a lot of athletes. We’ve had a number of world-class athletes who come here to utilize our functional neurology center,” says Riekeman. The school’s growth has unfolded in phases. First was to develop what Riekeman calls a “livable campus,” a concept that included LEED (leadership in energy and environmental design) gold-level certified student housing in the LIFE Village Retreat. “A student needs to show up with just his suitcase because everything is included, including the plates,” says Riekeman. The campus also boasts another LEED gold-certified facility, The Socrates Café, which serves organic foods from local farmers. The sustainable cafe is a “zerowaste facility” which even uses plates made from corn. The school is home to a number of sports teams and “our rugby team just won the national championship,” says Riekeman. With an adherence to a healthy

lifestyle, LIFE is a tobaccofree campus, and offers workout facilities and free chiropractic care for students, faculty and staff. The second phase of the plan was to ensure an exceptional experience for students with what Riekeman calls “Ritz Carlton training.” Instead of speaking through a small window at financial aid and having to see multiple people, a student can speak with a concierge of sorts who handles issues from start to finish. “It literally transformed how people communicate with one another,” he said. Open house planned for April The final six years of the plan will go through the year 2020. LIFE will introduce a master’s program in positive Psychology this spring. There have been discussions with the Dalai Lama to come to campus to speak more about the importance of the subject. Also in the works are plans to build a new dorm and grow the student body significantly. The goal is to have 2,000 enrolled in the chiropractic program, 3,000 in the College of Undergraduate Studies and 1,000 in the College of Graduate Studies and Research. An undergraduate open house will be in April and campus tours are offered each week for prospective students. The LIFE Leadership Weekend is held five times a year, the next one April 11 and 12, for prospective students for the chiropractic school.

New areas of study will be developed on both the graduate and undergraduate levels. Riekeman says the school is also working with the Chamber of Commerce, City of Marietta, Southern Polytechnic University and Kennesaw State to improve the corridor off Cobb Parkway where LIFE is located and make it more than just an area for car dealerships. LIFE seeks a certain type of student to join its student body and, Riekeman explains, it boils down to

helping students get more than a job. It is to help them get a life, filled with work they can be passionate about. “LIFE is for the student who wants to have a life, not just make a living,” he says. “We’re not just trying to give them an education; we’re giving them a philosophy of life.” We are really looking for people (to join the student body) who are passionate about making a difference.” To learn more about LIFE University, visit www.LIFE. edu.

Life University FOUNDED: 1974 as a college of chiropractic. LOCATION: Life has a 104-acre campus off of Cobb Parkway at the 120 Loop in Marietta that offers SACSaccredited programs in numerous fields of study. CURRENT PRESIDENT: Dr. Guy Riekeman, since 2004. BACHELOR DEGREES: Biology, biopsychology, business administration, computer information management, dietetics, exercise science, general education and transitional studies, health coaching, nutrition, psychology and the pre-doctor of chiropractic program. GRADUATE DEGREES: Dr. Guy Riekeman Chiropractic sport science, exercise sport science, nutrition and sport health science, sport coaching, sport injury management (entry level athletic training).












Making a splash

New park at Six Flags to include 800,000-gallon wave pool, two large slides and multiple amenities By Rachel Gray

AUSTELL — A big splash of excitement rippled through Cobb last summer when Six Flags Over Georgia announced plans to open a second water park. Six Flags Park President Dale Kaetzel made the big announcement about the major capital investment that will transform the park, “taking it to places it’s never been,” he said. The local Six Flags park, which opened in 1967, sits on 200 acres off Interstate 20 in Austell. Kaetzel said Hurricane Harbor will open Memorial Day weekend, although the rest of the park filled with roller coasters and attractions opens March 15. Six Flags Over Georgia is open every weekend in March, April and May, then the gates are open daily between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The cost to enter Hurricane Harbor will be included in the seasonal pass or one-day ticket, which is $59.99. Hurricane Harbor will consist of an 800,000-gallon wave pool, two large slides and multiple amenities, including shaded cabanas, a new restaurant and changing facilities. The new water park is the largest expansion in the park’s history. In September, about 100 people were at Six Flags Over Georgia for the Hurricane Harbor groundbreaking ceremony. Kaetzel said he is amazed by the progress at the construction site. The whole area has been graded, and the workers are nearly ready to pour the wave pool. The fiber glass for the water slides has been delivered. Kaetzel said the water park will have a benefit to guests who will only want to ride attractions on dry land. “While people are enjoying paradise” at the water park, Kaetzel said the older section of the park will be less crowded with shorter lines. Another benefit from the additional water park could be an increase of nearly 300 employees to the Six Flags Over Georgia staff, Kaetzel said. The park employed 1,680 people last summer.

Staff/Jeff Stanton

Six Flags Park President Dale Kaetzel, left, stands at a promotional site for the park’s newest attraction, Hurricane Harbor. Next to Kaetzel is Donna Shaw, community outreach professional for the EpiCenter; Ed Richardson, chairman of the South Cobb Redevelopment Authority; and Linda Jensen, director of marketing for Six Flags.

As a tourism anchor in the south Cobb area, Kaetzel said the focus of Six Flags Over Georgia will be to bring in visitors from Alabama, the Carolinas and Tennessee, while also doing “the best we can to make the best day ever for those who live in Georgia.” Kaetzel said with a new Braves stadium being built in Cobb, the focus is to get tourists to stay an extra night in the area. Six Flags brings A study by Cobb Travel and Tourism in revenue to Cobb said 40 percent of park attendees travel A Cobb Travel and Tourism official said from at least 50 miles away and a third of guests come from out of state. Six Flags Over Georgia’s “We are really on a path to $175 million economic success,” Kaetzel said. impact in Cobb County The draw from across state for its 2012 season is the lines means families lining theme park’s greatest up at Six Flags Over Georgia thrill. The park is the leading We are really on a are also spending time at local restaurants, hotels and tourism entity in Cobb, path to success shopping centers during their according to Cobb Travel extended stay, said Kaetzel, and Tourism, a nonprofit — Dale Kaetzel, who took over as the park’s funded by hotel/motel president of Six Flags Over president a year ago. taxes to market the county Georgia as a destination for ‘Build the future’ travelers. Kaetzel said the Kaetzel recently moved decision to expand from northern California and the park and continue said, in his 15 years of theme to develop the area is a display of “our park experience, he has never seen a level commitment to Cobb County, specifically of support for economic development like the south.”

“ ”

The site for Six Flags’ newest attraction, Hurricane Harbor, set to be completed by Memorial Day weekend. there is in this region of Georgia. State Rep. David Wilkerson (D-Austell) said his family holds annual season passes to Six Flags Over Georgia. “The fact that (Six Flags Over Georgia

is) making an investment shows there’s a profit here,” he said. “It does seem that as we redevelop the south Cobb area, the old and new Cobb are coming together to kind of build the future.”

TRIO of talent Three friends show off works in exhibit ‘Friends - Penley, Rossin and Steed’ By Sally Litchfield /

MDJ Features Editor


Staff/Kelly J. Huff

arietta Cobb Museum of Art starts the year with one of its most exciting exhibits to date.

“Friends - Penley, Rossin and Steed” runs through March 23. The exhibit features the works of three friends, Steve Penley, Ross Rossin and Lu Steed. Executive Director of MCMA Sally Macaulay said, “This Saturday, we will open one of the most interesting shows we have had, in my opinion, since I started working here five years ago.” Macaulay set the wheels in motion for the exhibit after learning about the connection between the artists. She discovered from Steve Penley that he sold his first painting to lawyer Bob Steed of the Atlanta firm of King & Spalding. Steed purchased the painting off

a wall in a restaurant where Penley was working. Macaulay contacted Steed who invited her to lunch with him at King & Spalding and subsequently for dinner at his home where she met his wife, Lu Steed. While at King & Spalding, Macaulay viewed artwork from all over the world that lined the firm’s walls including those of pop artist Penley, contemporary realist Lu Steed and Ross Rossin. “(The law firm) looked like a museum within itself,” Macaulay said. The works of Bulgarianborn American Rossin, who is a world-renowned hyperrealist portrait artist, particularly intrigued Macaulay.

Above: Artists Lu Steed, Ross Rossin and Steve Penley stand in front of their works at Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art for the ‘Friends - Penley, Rossin and Steed’ exhibit. Below: Artist Lu Steed works in large scale acrylic painting of still life to tractor trailers, but also recently painted and designed her own sarcophagus after an inspirational trip to Egypt. The lid features 75 years of photographs of her life from a child to current day. “His work was the best photorealism I had ever seen. If you didn’t know it was an oil painting you would swear you were viewing an extremely large photograph,” Macaulay said. “I immediately called Rossin, whose assistant informed me that he didn’t exhibit at museums. I was really devastated, but I would not give up,” she said. Macaulay started a conversation with Steed about getting Rossin to exhibit at MCMA. Steed suggested putting together a joint exhibit with these three artists because they had been friends since they started in the business. “Everyone agreed,” Macaulay said. “Everyone

that comes, I am sure, will be blown away by the talent of these three artists. Rossin with his fabulous oil paintings in the photorealist style; Penley with his beautiful acrylics and loose brush style; and Lu Steed, who is well known for her diverse subject matter done with acrylics as well as mixed media,” Macaulay said. Equally talented artists Alexi Butirskiy and Edward Gordon who also create photorealistic paintings, with architecture-type subject matter will be showing in the Mezzanine Galleries. The museum is at 30 Atlanta St., Marietta. Visit or call (770) 528-1444.




‘Devoted to the


Strand Theater reports biggest year of improvements By Mary Cosgrove /


t the Earl Smith Strand Theatre, there is never a dull moment. Each year is packed with a myriad of events — a list that goes on and on. “Last year, we had musicals, music revues, straight theater, children’s theater, tribute bands, local bands, classic movies, cult movies, silent movies with live organ accompaniment, comedians, ballets, galas, summer camps, award ceremonies, weddings and production companies rent out the stage for filming TV shows and movies,” Managing Director Cassi Costoulas said. “Believe it or not, that’s a typical year for us.” The 531-seat theater on the historic Marietta Square includes two event rooms, one of which leads out to a rooftop terrace. “The Strand’s modest facade can be deceiving, but it’s bigger on the inside,” Costoulas said. This year, the Strand has seen some physical improvements. “This has been our biggest year of improvements since the renovation,” which occurred in 2008, Costoulas said. A grant of $200,000 from the Woodruff Foundation enabled the Strand’s stage to receive a facelift with new paint, permanent access stairs and mini balconies that include lit urns added to either side of the stage and roughly halfway up “for a little more pizazz,” Costoulas said. “We were able to invest in upgrading our sound system and microphones, as well as purchase some fancy new lighting. The lobby now has digital menu and upcoming events boards, and we were finally able to purchase permanent furnishings and decor for our second floor lounge,” she said. There are still some improvements yet to come, but Costoulas said those are being kept a surprise. The Strand had some major acts in 2013 with attendance surprisingly large for many of them. “The Motown Sound” and “A Christmas Tradition” were two that did very well, as well as Bill Oberst, a Lewis Grizzard impersonator who flew in and performed his one-man show. “It was a blast,” Costoulas said. Those three acts will return in 2014, as well as three musical revues rotating every weekend for a summer series in June and July.

“There are a bunch of to see what the next five will theaters around the country bring.” that have a similar formal, The Strand is staffed with and we think it’s going to be five full-time employees a big hit with who, the locals according to and perfect Costoulas, for travelers wear multiple who might hats. only have a “For short time example, the Not only is the in town and box office theater going want to catch manager more than is also the strong, but it one show graphic while they continues to grow designer and are here,” she our technical as the community director just said. Shows out Staff/Jeff Stanton continues to invest worked that typically the contract Above: Cassi Costoulas, managing director of the Earl Smith Strand Theatre. sell out for the Lewis in it. Coustulous said the Strand saw many physical improvements in 2013. ‘This has include New Grizzard been our biggest year of improvements since the renovation,’ which occurred in — Cassi Costoulas , Year’s Eve show,” she 2008, Costoulas said. Left: Zac Phelps, who plays Seymour, can’t decide what to Managing Director at The with Jagged said. do about an exotic plant named Audrey II, who is bloodthirsty and constantly wants Strand Theatre Stones, A strong to be fed during a dress rehearsal “Little Shop of Horrors.” The play was conducted Yacht Rock board of Jan. 9 to 19 at the Earl Smith Strand Theatre. Schooner’s trustees is Steely Dan crucial in “It is one of the most easily slew of issues and hard are involved and passionate show, the making recognized buildings and work that is taken off our stewards of the support that Motown everything brings in hundreds of people the community at large gives plates completely because revues and “Casablanca.” work, Costoulas said. to the Square every weekend of their expertise in helping to The Strand,” she said. “But it’s always a “The board of trustees not night. There are numbers patrons.” One means by which bit of a guessing game, only represents The Strand to the community supports to back up our economic The Strand first opened even with repeat shows,” the community, but supports in 1935 primarily as a movie impact. The Strand generates the theater is by way of Costoulas said. “A few the staff regularly and with around $163,000 in local theater but closed in 2002, volunteerism. years ago, we showed “The expertise. Many nonprofits before its reopening in 2008, tax revenues each year, but “The unsung heroes of Princess Bride” for its 25th have a board of trustees I think you only have to since then becoming the the theater are the ushers anniversary, thinking we that meet a few times a that volunteer at every single heart of downtown Marietta. try to get a table at a local might get 150 people to year and maybe help with restaurant at 7 p.m. the night “The Strand is the public show — especially show up. To our surprise, it one fundraiser. Our board of a big show to see it first revived anchor of The the regular crew,” Costoulas nearly sold out and people is nothing like that. They hand.” Square,” Costoulas said. said. “There is a whole came in costume.” This past calendar year was a smashing success for the theater. “2013 proved to be a very strong year for us, with our most successful summer and by far our most profitable holiday season to date. Not only is the theater going strong, but it continues to grow as the community continues to invest in it,” Costoulas said. Inscribed on the facade of the building is “A Monument Devoted to the Best in Music, Photoplays and Theatrical Acts,” and Costoulas said the theater remains true to that motto. “I’ve been working for The Strand ever since it opened (in 2008) and our rapid growth since that opening day is sometimes hard to take in completely,” she said. “We just celebrated our fifth birthday and the improvements we’ve made Staff/file in just a few short years, with a less than ideal economy for The cast of Atlanta Lyric Theatre’s production of the Tony Award winning musical ‘Ragtime’ prepare for a dress rehearsal at the Earl Smith Strand Theatre on April 12 to 18. nonprofits, make me excited

“ ”

Above: Members of the Earl Smith Strand Theatre board and management team include, from left, Costulous; Faye Dimassimo, vice chairman of the board of trustees; Kim Gresh, vice chairman of the board of trustees; and Steve Imler, chairman of the board of trustees. Right: ‘Rusty,’ played by Tierra Porter, rehearses for the musical ‘Footloose,’ which opened at The Strand in August.




 FESTIVALS & EVENTS Spring  BIG SHANTY FESTIVAL, KENNESAW — One of the largest arts and crafts fairs in the Southeast, held over a weekend in late April.  SPRING ART FESTIVAL, ACWORTH — More than 120 colorful artisans line downtown Acworth with artwork and displays, usually held over a weekend in April.  TASTE OF MARIETTA, MARIETTA SQUARE — An annual food festival that showcases Cobb County restaurants and caterers, held the last Sunday in April.  ART WALK, MARIETTA — A free, self-guided tour of the Marietta Square’s galleries, museums, cultural venues, restaurants and boutiques, held the first Friday of the month, April through October.  SPRING JONQUIL FESTIVAL, SMYRNA — Arts and crafts festival featur-

ing more than 150 artists/crafters, held on a weekend in late April.  INTERNATIONAL PRO-WAKEBOARD TOUR, ACWORTH — The world’s top professional wakeboarders compete on Lake Allatoona, held annually in late May.


Summer  SUMMER CONCERT SERIES, ACWORTH — Acworth Business Association sponsors concerts in June and July at Cauble Park.  ART WALK, MARIETTA — A free, self-guided tour of the Marietta Square’s galleries, museums, cultural venues, restaurants and boutiques, held the first Friday of the month, April through October.  JULY 4TH FIREWORKS, ACWORTH — This is part of the summer concert series See Events, Page 6EE

The Dallas Theater & Civic Center is a unique rental space. We offer a fully restored, art-deco styled theater dating from the 1940’s and an adjacent civic center with a modern, sleek style. Each venue can be rented separately or you can rent both spaces for your event. You are free to bring any vendors you choose. We will do all that we can to ensure that your event is successful. We always enjoy speaking with you about your event and giving tours of our beautiful venue. Please contact us for pricing and to schedule a tour. • Weddings

• Bridal Showers

• Sports Banquets

• Wedding Receptions

• Baby Showers

• Concerts

• Reunions

• Graduation Parties

• Fundraisers

• Corporate Meetings

• Club Meetings

• Holiday Events

• Awards Ceremonies








‘ART for everyone’ New state-of-the-art museum at KSU boasts 9,200 square feet of galleries, exhibit space By Marty M. Hohmann

Staff/Kelly J. Huff

Zuckerman Museum of Art Director Justin Rabideau is almost ready to open the new facility located inside the Bailey Performance Center on the campus of Kennesaw State University.

Special to the MDJ

KENNESAW — The air is electric at the Zuckerman Museum of Art on the campus of Kennesaw State University. Workmen have put the final touches on the galleries, and artists are coming in to produce original works or assemble their pieces. Museum Director Justin Rabideau has overseen the monumental team effort that has gone into the creation of the first museum in the university system of Georgia in 30 years. The grand opening of the Zuckerman Museum of Art was on March 1. The new state-of-the art facility features 9,200 square feet of open, airy galleries and exhibition spaces. “I believe that the Zuckerman Museum of Art has a unique opportunity to create a dynamic artistic experience for our metro Atlanta and north Georgia communities, offering a gateway into a global creative spirit, enriching and enlivening the campus and our community,” Rabideau said. The new museum is also the first of its kind in metro Atlanta in 10 years and the intent, Rabideau said, is to provide an artistic experience to everyone, from art aficionados to casual observers. “From visiting artists, workshops, internships and arts outreach, the Zuckerman Museum of Art offers students and the community an opportunity to experience something truly exceptional,” he said. The museum uses an inter-disciplinary approach to create

Exhibit Specialist Tony Howell prepares to uncrate pieces of an art sculpture Friday at the new Zuckerman Museum of Art. exhibitions and artsrelated programming that reaches audiences on different levels. The concept is that “the arts are for everyone and everyone can enjoy the arts,” Rabideau said. That means admission and parking will always be free to everyone. The museum is open each Tuesday through Thursday and on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Outreach and arts education will be a hallmark of the museum, which provides outlets for research at the facility and attempts to make the art world more accessible for the community. “We see ourselves as a laboratory for experimentation,” Rabideau said. The message is clear: come in, stay awhile, engage the arts and explore. The museum employs a full-time outreach and education coordinator. The Bailey Performance Center atrium features the works of KSU’s faculty. Other areas combine the works of new, up-and-coming artists, with contemporary works of art, student art, faculty art, etc. With the grand opening exhibits, the focus is on architecture and a sense of place.

The outside of the Zuckerman Museum of Art at KSU.

Architectural firm Stanley Beaman & Sears designed the Zuckerman Museum of Art with a soaring glass exterior and had artistic influence in the massive wall panel adjacent to the stairs in the museum entrance. The wall is a modern, yet retro, rendering of the topographical map of the land upon which the museum sits. The Salon highlights 40 years of the KSU permanent collection, both modern and classic, combined under a unified theme of “place,” notes Museum Curator Teresa Bramlett Reeves. “It’s sort of a taste treat.” Works of art are displayed from floor to See Art, Page 6EE




The gem of Cobb

By Mary Cosgrove

Cobb Energy center continues to strive for variety and balance

The Cobb Energy Performance Arts Centre is an ever-evolving facility of entertainment and education — a jewel nestled in the outskirts of Cobb County. The facility has only been open for seven years, yet it has reached worldwide renown in its short life. Just a year after it opened in 2007, the Cobb Energy Center was named by Billboard Magazine as one of five venues to watch. “We just completed our calendar year as number 20 in the top 100 performing arts center worldwide,” said Managing Director Michael Taormina. “We’re moving in the right direction.” What has made the arts center a success in such a short amount of time is a combination of many moving parts working together. “There’s no secret formula,” Taormina said. But bringing in a variety of acts that appeals to many generations, ethnicities and tastes is a key ingredient. “I think being attuned to what is current and looking at things going back in the past and looking to the future,” is a no-fail approach in appealing to an audience as large and widely-diverse as metro Atlanta, Taormina said. Staff/Jeff Stanton “It’s a blend, but it’s also a business,” he Pam Hubby, Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre director and Michael Taormina, managing director, both cast a said. “You have to be very, very careful that dreamy reflection in one of the centre’s windows as they glance across the parking lot area. you get a balance. We strive for a balance. That’s the most important thing.” The size of the venue is also a selling point Amos Lee, Bill Cosby, Brian Setzer, Daniel Tosh, Disney Junior Live’s “The Pirate and to performers. the Princess, India Arie, the Jimmy Fallon The 2,750-seat facility is nestled neatly Show, Radio City Christmas Spectacular between large and small venue sizes. featuring The Rockettes and “The under 3,000 seats is Ron White. the sweet spot for Broadway Taormina said the entire and comedy and a lot of region benefits from having performers,” Taormina the Cobb Energy Center. said. Even with the variety “The economic engine of venues in Atlanta, such generates all that revenue March 8 to 16 as the Fox Theater and the and all that synergy, and all The Atlanta Opera’s Woodruff Performing Arts those things are important ‘Faust’ Center, Taormina said the for the quality of life in the metro area was missing out region,” he said. on acts. March 15 The arts center isn’t just Bill Maher “Atlanta was losing focused on entertainment performers because there was and it has a wide outreach no venue to put them in,” he March 21-23 program. said. “When we opened, we Atlanta Ballet’s ‘Modern Through the Cobb added to the wonderful mix.” Choreographic Voices’ Energy Performing Not only did the arts Arts Centre Foundation, center begin to bring in new March 24 Staff/file ArtsBridge serves more The Ten Tenors performers, such as this The cast of ‘Hairspray’ from Pebblebrook High School performed at the Shulthan 200,000 students year’s Radio City Christmas er Hensley Awards at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center in 2012. The and educators from 30 Spectacular featuring The March 27 counties in the state, as well Shuler awards began with just 15 high schools participating, a number that Rockettes, various NPR Jazz Roots: New Orleans! has grown exponentially to its current 62 schools participating in honoring high as Alabama, Tennessee, With Aaron Nevile performers and comedians, Florida and South Carolina. school musical theater. but it breathed life into The heart of ArtsBridge, and students that can’t afford it.” existing Atlanta-based April 2 Classes, in which students experience the which began in 2007, is performance groups. Jesse Cook She said there are five pillars to inner workings of producing Broadway student involvement in “The Atlanta Opera, for ArtsBridge, first is bringing in students to performances — going behind the scenes performing arts through a instance, was on its last leg enjoy performances, but there is also the and interacting with performers. May 10 variety of programs. when we opened,” Taormina Shuler Hensley Awards, formally known as “Our work is important,” Hubby said. Megan Hilty Director of said. “Had it not been for this the Georgia High School Musical Theater “We know that early exposure to the arts Development Pam Hubby venue, we probably would Awards. can improve academic achievement, not have an opera. The same could be said for said oftentimes, schools don’t have the The Shuler awards began with just 15 enhance social skills, critical thinking and resources or finances to expose students to high schools participating, a number that program solving — things our children The (Atlanta) Ballet.” performing arts. has grown exponentially to its current 62 need to be successful in life. It also gives Booking performances is a constant “Many don’t have the opportunity to schools participating in honoring high them a chance to explore their talents and process and the calendar stays busy year experience such things due to changes in school musical theater. abilities, to find something they truly enjoy, round. budgets,” she said. “The overarching goal The third pillar is Jazz Roots, which and maybe their ultimate career path.” In 2013, the arts center say a 14 percent Looking to the future, Taormina said increase from the prior year, with an 8 percent in ArtsBridge is to reach as many schools as teaches students about the history and possible. We provide financial assistance by culture of jazz. Rounding out ArtsBridge the only plan is to keep growing, keep increase in the number of shows and a way of low ticket prices but also subsidies are Global Stages features programs by innovating and keep evolving. whopping 17 percent increase in attendance. international artists and Broadway Master for tickets and transportations for schools “It’s all magical, I guess,” he said. Some of the major acts in 2013 included

Coming up

Events Continued from Page 4EE and ends with a firework display, in Cauble Park.  JULY 4TH PARADE, MARIETTA — A parade that spans from Roswell Street Baptist Church and ends at North Marietta Parkway.  JULY 4TH CELEBRATION, POWDER SPRINGS — Features music, activities and fireworks.  PIGS & PEACHES BBQ FESTIVAL, KENNESAW — The Georgia State Championship BBQ cook-off the last week of August.  BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION, SMYRNA — City marks its birthday with bands, a giant birthday cake and fireworks the first week of August.

Fall  NORTH GEORGIA STATE FAIR, MARIETTA — Cobb’s largest annual event, provides family fun, at Jim R. Miller Park in late September  TASTE OF SMYRNA — Food, fun and music all day on Smyrna’s Village Green, in mid-September.  POWDER SPRINGS DAY — Parade and entertainment throughout the day, downtown, the first week of October.  A TASTE OF ACWORTH — All the restaurants on the Main Street, downtown,

sell samples of their food in mid-October  ART WALK, MARIETTA — A free, self-guided tour of the Marietta Square’s galleries, museums, cultural venues, restaurants and boutiques, held the first Friday of the month, April through October.  FALL JONQUIL FESTIVAL, SMYRNA — Arts and crafts festival featuring more than 175 artists/crafters and family events, last week of October.  GREAT LAKE ALLATOONA CLEANUP, ACWORTH — The City of Acworth partners with the Lake Allatoona Preservation Authority to organize volunteers who will help clean up the shores of Lake Allatoona and Lake Acworth in late September.


plans arts-related movies and evenings under the stars on the terrace of Continued from Page 5EE the museum. The museum was ceiling in the tradition of made possible by a $2 19th century art galleries. million gift of the late Exhibited artists include Bernard A. Zuckerman. Thomas H. Benton, Community sponsors, Athos Menaboni, Wilincluding the Robert W. liam Sonntag and Karen Woodruff Foundation, Appel. and the Leo Delle LasThe upstairs atrium siter Jolley Foundation, of the Zuckerman Musegave another $1 million um of Art is filled with matching donation with light and in the distance support from the KSU but clearly visible is Foundation. the profile of Kennesaw The works of ZuckMountain, lending furerman’s wife, the late ther inspiration. The staff Ruth Zuckerman, will be

prominently featured in the Zuckerman gallery. A prolific sculptor in stone and bronze, “From Earth and Fire: Works by Ruth Zuckerman,” take center stage in the museum’s atrium. A catalogue of her work was also produced to accompany the exhibit. “The whole idea for our grand opening was not to just highlight what we do here but to highlight the arts in general,” Rabideau said. “All will come together for the crescendo at the end of the event.”

Winter  MUST MINISTRIES GOBBLE JOG, MARIETTA — Features a 10K run/walk, 5K, a 1K, and the Tot Trot for kids 5 and under, Marietta Square, Thanksgiving morning.  LIGHTING OF THE CHRISTMAS TREE, AUSTELL — School choirs provide musical entertainment and there are free hot dogs, hot chocolate, and pastries while Santa arrives on his sleigh at Collar Park next to the City Hall in early December.  POWDER SPRINGS CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION — A lighting of the Christmas tree, with carriage rides, and Santa Claus, downtown, the first week of December.

Staff/Kelly J. Huff

Rabideau opens the new facility located inside the Bailey Performance Center on the campus of Kennesaw State University.




Brunswick’s scores strike Bowling alley boasts 25 multi-player games, food, crafts beers, new league By Sally Litchfield /


eed a winter activity that’s family friendly? Go bowling at Brunswick’s Marietta.

“Brunswick’s offers “Brunswick’s is a a state-of-the art bowling one-stop entertainment experience in destination. an upscale, You can enjoy yet casual, some friendly comfortable competition on environment,” the lanes or in said General Sunday through the arcade then Manager Todd grab a good Thursday Falter. “We meal all in from 11 a.m. to also have 25 the same spot. midnight competitive, Many of our multi-player guests spend an Friday games in our entire afternoon and Saturday arcade and or evening with from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. some amazing us just hanging food and craft out and having beers at our restaurant, fun with their families and Tavern ‘45.” friends,” Falter said. Tavern 45 features menu Brunswick’s Marietta favorites such as handis at 2749 Delk Road, stretched pizzas, beerMarietta. For more battered shrimp, arugula information, visit salads, smothered fries or call and great burgers. Almost (770) 988-8813. all the menu items are Their hours in Marietta designed to share from the are Sunday through small plates to the panini. Thursday from 11 a.m. to “If you enjoy local craft midnight and Friday and beer, then we’re the place Saturday from 11 a.m. to for you,” said Falter, a 1 a.m. Woodstock resident. “Right now our bar is featuring Sweetwater, Terrapin, Monday Night, Red Brick and Mother Earth.” Brunswick’s hosts a Fun Times bowling league. “It’s designed for people of all skill levels who just want to relax and have fun with friends. It’s a perfect winter activity,” he said. Brunswick’s is also a great location for special events. “We host a lot of corporate events and team building parties as well as birthday parties at our center. We love working with guests to create really memorable events,” he said.


Staff/Kelly J. Huff

Movie Tavern Area Manager Roy Van Horn and manager Stephanie Campbell stand outside the facility at 4651 Woodstock Road, Roswell.

Dinner with a movie New cinema delivers meals at call of button By Sally Litchfield / Go to the newly opened Movie Tavern in Roswell for a new cinema experience. See the latest blockbusters while enjoying a full meal and a cocktail delivered to your seat at this cinemaeatery. This location (in Cobb Staff/Todd Hull County at Sandy Plains Above: A colorful display of bowling balls greets Village) is the third Movie guests at Brunswick’s in Marietta. Below: Marietta Tavern to come to the resident Michael Jarry and Vanessa Martinez of Atlan- Atlanta market. ta enjoy a few drinks during a game. “This marks our third and most state-of-the-art location in greater Atlanta, and is part of our continued growth plan in the market,” said Danny DiGiacomo, director of marketing for Movie Tavern. “We provide our guests with a complete casual dining and entertainment experience by offering the latest movies, delicious food and a full list of beer, wines and signature cocktails. Movie Tavern’s ability to consistently provide a great guest experience with swift service and quality food choices is what truly sets us apart,” he added. The new 11-screen Movie Tavern features the latest technology in digital

projection and sound, RealD 3D capability, as well as luxury features such as plush lounge seats and reserved seating. Guests can easily select their preferred seats in advance when purchasing a ticket online at www. or at the box office and ticketing kiosks. Guests can order food and drinks from their seats via a softly illuminated call button. Servers deliver cocktails, meals, desserts and traditional movie snacks throughout the show. Most menu items are about $10. Movie Tavern also features its proprietary MT-X (Movie Tavern Xtreme) large format auditorium at the new Roswell location. MT-X is an enhanced entertainment auditorium that includes a large 70-foot silver screen, 2D and RealD 3D capability, an enhanced, customized sound system and plush electric reclining loungers. Movie Tavern is at 4651 Woodstock Road, Roswell. Weekly show times are Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. and Wednesdays at 11:30 a.m.








Plenty of work left to do

Staff / File

The braintrust behind Kennesaw State football, from left, Kennesaw State University President Dr. Dan Papp, coach Brian Bohannon, athletic director Vaughn Williams and football exploratory committee chairman Vince Dooley. The quartet has helped make football a reality at Kennesaw State, but there is still a lot more work to be done before the team kicks off its inaugural season in the fall of 2015.

Improvements and upgrades set for Fifth Third Bank Stadium By John Bednarowski

Kennesaw State’s new football program is nearing the halfway point to kickoff after the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia gave it the OK last February. Since that time, the program has seen many developments and met many milestones:  Brian Bohannon has been hired as the first head coach in the program’s history and he has chosen his coaching staff;  The schedule for the first season is one game from completion;  The Owls found a conference to play in. They will be football-only associate members of the Big South;  The KSU athletic department has entered into sponsorship agreements with Fifth Third Bank, WellStar and Superior Plumbing that will raise nearly $10 million over the next 15 years;  The football program opened a new office space which will also hold the team’s weight-lifting facilities, practice locker room and team meeting rooms;  The ticket department has already sold 2,500 season tickets; and

 The coaching staff recruited and signed its first class of 29 players. That’s quite an accomplishment for the first year, but Kennesaw State athletic director Vaughn Williams said while there have been numerous milestones, it doesn’t seem like it’s been 12 months since the program has gotten the go-ahead. “It’s been the quickest year of my life,” Williams said. “From a football standpoint, the last year has flown by. From the time (Bohannon) got hired until now, we’ve pushed the pedal to the floor, but there are still a lot of things that have to happen.” While Bohannon and staff will focus on the football aspects. Williams is working with everything else, and much of his focus will center in and on Fifth Third Bank Stadium. Once the athletic department gets approval from the Board of Regents to begin upgrades at the stadium, construction on the WellStar press box will begin. In addition, another ticket window will be built at the southeast corner of the stadium to aid with crowds entering and exiting the stadium. There will be technology upgrades

to allow fans to remain connected throughout the game and to make it interactive. The choices for food and other concessions will also be upgraded. Williams also said doing runthroughs, much like last year’s Civil War Classic between North Cobb High School and Kennesaw Mountain High School, will be important to creating the proper game-day experience. “We want to understand how it’s going to work,” Williams said. “We want people to think (coming to a Kennesaw State football game) is easy. We want them to think it’s fun, and its easy.” Between now and the time Kennesaw State plays its first home game against Edward Waters College on Sept. 12, 2015, the football game day staff will get at least three more opportunities — an intrasquad game this fall, another Civil War Classic and a spring game next year — to help work out the logistics. Another thing Williams said he wants to do is use the current signing class and send them on a barnstorming tour, or as much as the

See Stadium, 6FF

Staff / Jeff Stanton

Bohannon putting football plan in motion By John Bednarowski

With the completion of National Signing Day, the Kennesaw State football program finally got the one thing it was missing — players. It closed one phase for coach Brian Bohannon and his staff — the first year of recruiting and learning about how to build a startup program — and begins another — team building. With the signing of the first 29 players, Bohannon said he can now begin to formulate plans on offense, defense and special teams and mapping out a plan for the inaugural fall practice.

See Bohannon, 6FF






Staff / Kelly J. Huff

Kennesaw State’s mascot, Sturgis the owl, and football exploratory committe chairman Vince Dooley are expected to be at Fifth Third Bank Stadium on Sept. 12, 2015, when the Owls face Edward Waters in the inaugural home game.

Kennesaw State completes home portion of schedule By John Bednarowski

Kennesaw State’s inaugural home football schedule is complete. The university athletic department announced that NAIA programs Edward Waters and Point will join Paine and Big South Conference members GardnerWebb, Monmouth and Charleston Southern as home opponents for the inaugural 2015 season. That brings the total number of games on the schedule to 10. The Owls are expected to add one more road game to complete the schedule. Edward Waters will be the home opener at Fifth Third Bank Stadium on Sept. 12. Paine will come to campus Sept. 19 and Point will be the final nonconference home game Oct. 10. The first game in Kennesaw State program history may double as the country’s first football game of the 2015 season when the Owls travel to Johnson City, Tenn., to face East Tennessee State. The game against the Buccaneers, which is set to kick off on Sept. 3 at 7:30 p.m., will be at 8,500-seat Kermit Tipton Stadium on the campus of Science Hill High School. It will mark a unique contest that posts two startup teams against each other, which means one team will walk out of the stadium with its first victory. It could also become one of the Owls’ annual rivals. “It’s a definite possibility,” Kennesaw State athletic director Vaughn Williams said.

“Potentially, it’s a school you’d want to play.” It’s a game that naturally came together after Kennesaw State coach Brian Bohannon and East Tennessee coach Carl Torbush started talking. “Usually, a new program will schedule either a money game, where a team pays to beat you, or a game you know you should win,” Torbush said. “But when you do that, you don’t know how good or how bad you are. Here, we have two schools that mirror each other. It should be a close ball game. “(This game) will let us know where we are. It will let us know how our recruiting is going and where we have to improve.” The Owls will have nine days to learn from the first game to prepare to play Edward Waters. Kickoff times for all home games have yet to be set. Kennesaw State will compete as a footballplaying only associate member of the Big South Conference, and the first conference game will be Oct. 17 when GardnerWebb visits Fifth-Third Bank Stadium. It will be one of three Big South home games for Kennesaw State, along with Monmouth on Oct. 31 and Charleston Southern on Nov. 7. The first conference road game will be Oct. 24, when Kennesaw State travels to Lynchburg, Va., to face Liberty. The Owls will close the conference schedule with two road games in South Carolina — Nov. 14 at Coastal Carolina and Nov. 21 at Presbyterian. “Each piece of the

puzzle is getting put together,” Bohannon said. “It is a reality that football is right around the corner. Now we have a conference schedule. It’s the next piece.” The Big South has only been playing football for 10 years, but the recently completed 2013 season may have been its best. The five current conference teams Kennesaw State will face in 2015 went a combined 40-20 this past season. Coastal Carolina (123) claimed a share of the conference championship and advanced to the third round of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs before falling to eventual national champion North Dakota State. Charleston Southern (102) was ranked the final eight weeks of the regular season. Liberty (8-4) earned a share of the conference title, and Gardner-Webb (8-4) knocked off three ranked opponents. Only Presbyterian (3-8) had a losing record. Monmouth (6-6), like Kennesaw State, will join the Big South as an associate member, entering for the 2014 season. The Hawks spent the ’13 season as an independent, after previously playing in the Northeast Conference. Bohannon said the success the Big South had last season was a selling point to potential recruits. “We’ve been selling that, no doubt,” Bohannon said. “The success they had against the Southern Conference this year, and the success Coastal Carolina had in the playoffs, have been great selling points when we’ve been on the road.”

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Staff / Kelly J. Huff

With 18 months left before Kennesaw State takes the field, there are fewer than 1,100 season tickets still available for the inaugural season at Fifth Third Bank Stadium before the athletic department begins putting names on a waiting list.

Owls tickets flying fast By John Bednarowski

If anyone wants to purchase season tickets for Kennesaw State’s inaugural football season in 2015, they may want to do it sooner than later. Bobby Lindsey, Kennesaw State’s director of ticket sales and operations, said more than 2,500 season tickets have already been purchased. The number represents nearly 71 percent of the anticipated tickets available at Fifth Third Bank Stadium. “I’ve not been in a situation before where we have to account for every single seat,” said Lindsey, who has also worked for Georgia State, Georgia Southern and Central Florida. With only 8,300 seats available at Fifth Third Bank Stadium, Lindsey said selling the season tickets is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. “We need tickets for player guests, bands, students and the visiting

team,” Lindsey said. “The Big South requires each visiting school be given 250 seats. It’s a big puzzle, but it’s a fun puzzle.” Lindsey added that there are fewer than 1,300 seats remaining to be purchased before the athletic department begins a waiting list, and there is the possibility the seats will be sold out by the time the new signing class takes the field for their first practice this fall. The Owls will play their first home game in the fall of 2015. The program’s inaugural game will come on the road, Sept. 3 at East Tennessee State. The first home game will be nine days later when the Owls welcome Edward Waters to Fifth Third Bank Stadium, and the Big South Conference slate will begin at home against Gardner-Webb on Oct. 17. The athletic department has announced it had completed the home portion of the schedule. Paine will come to campus

Sept. 19, Point on Oct. 10, Monmouth on Oct. 31 and Charletson Southern closes the home slate Nov. 7. Lindsey said it will be in the fans’ best interest to put down a deposit for season tickets as soon as possible. Those who place a refundable $20 deposit per seat can guarantee season tickets priced at $99 each through the 2017 season. University faculty and staff can purchase as many as four season tickets for a discounted price of $75. “The response by the community regarding football at Kennesaw State has been truly amazing,” Kennesaw State football coach Brian Bohannon said. “I want to thank everyone who has signed letters of intent to this point, and to have two-thirds of the available seats accounted for is a great accomplishment.” More information on ticket sales can be found online at www. or by calling the ticket office at (770) 423- 6957.





Cobb offers ways to make golf games better By Carlton D. White

As spring rolls in, Cobb County golf courses will prepare for the influx of members and non-members taking to the links on a daily basis. Courses at City Club Marietta, Cobblestone, Legacy/Fox Creek and Dogwood are gearing up with specials and promotions to entice area golfers throughout the year to come out and enjoy themselves. All of the clubs offer a variety of camps and classes for junior and adult golfers who want to learn how to play the sport or improve their knowledge of golf. Most classes or clinics are offered once a week — fees vary by course — and camps give junior golfers opportunities to make friends like one would at other camps as well as learn along side other promising golfers. One of the many services offered at Cobblestone is the “Get Golf Ready” clinic, which takes beginning golfers and gives them five golf lessons directly on the course. All levels and ages are accepted and the lessons include course etiquette as well as how to schedule tee times and other standard beginning golfer training. Legacy and Fox Creek junior summer camps and clinics and adult beginner golf classes will also help golfers improve their play on the links. The courses at Legacy and Fox Creek are executive courses, offering a variety

of par-3 and par-4 holes to test a golfer’s ability. Legacy is actually shorter than Fox Creek, which is the only difference between the two. The courses are managed equally as far as the specials and promotions offered. Two different staffs, however, help manage them. Each golf course offers promotions and specials for members and non-members to help entice support from patrons. Scheduling tee times can often be done on the golf clubs’ website. According to its website, City Club Marietta offers a free round

of golf on your birthday if you register to participate in their “eClub.” Registration is available online. The club regularly offers specials and golf promotions to registered members, and all of the information collected in the eClub is used only to provide members’ golf specials and promotions. City Club also offers a loyalty program for golfers who frequent the course. “When folks sign up for our email specials, they also receive a weekly newsletter that provides updates on what’s happening,” said Justin Osborne, assistant golf

professional at City Club. “There can be up to four specials in a week ranging from daily to weekly if folks sign up. “The newsletter provides information on events, news and tournaments at the facility. There are food and beverage specials, too.” City Club also offers range plans similar to a prepaid card that allows cheaper rates for golfers. Cobblestone uses a smiliar plan called the “Cobblestone Card” as a means to promote its specials. According to its website, the card is designed to give customers significant savings

over normal weekly rates. It is available in a variety of levels with different benefits. Cards are red, white and blue and are priced differently for members and non-members and offer varying degrees of specials and discounts. Cobblestone also has a yearly Super Bowl Golf Invitational of four-man teams held on Super Bowl Sunday, and the club recently started a “Pick the Winner” contest where, if you correctly guess the winner of a specified PGA Tour event, you win a free round of golf. If there is more than one winner, then the person who gets closest to the winning score wins. Golf reward cards are also available, which can be used to earn points towards free golf. Dogwood is a hybrid club that allows public use Monday through Thursday and private members only are allowed on the weekends. The club recently started the “Just One Golf” promotion where you can play for a hole-in-one on No. 12 and win a cash prize. The Marietta Golf Center driving range provides spring, summer and fall five-week clinics for ages 5-7, 8-12, 13-17 and 18-andover, according to its website. Clinics teach the basic skills of traditional golf using modified equipment that allows a child to transfer proper mechanics to regular clubs. As is the case with all of the public courses, golfers can get personalized golf instruction from their professionals.

Cobb County Golf Courses and Driving Ranges GOLF COURSES

Greens Fees: $48 (Monday through Friday), $58 (weekends/holidays) Twilight rate plans and times vary by season. Please check website for details.

Atlanta Country Club

(Private) 500 Atlanta Country Club Drive Marietta, GA 30067 (770) 953-2100 Head Pro: Scott Schroeder Greens Fees: N/A

Cobblestone Golf Course

(Public) 4200 Nance Road Acworth, GA 30101 (770) 917-5152 Head Pro: Michael “Mickey” Harris Greens Fees: $56.50 (Monday through Friday), $65 (weekends/ holidays) Twilight rate plans and times vary by season. Please check website for details

Bentwater Golf Club

(Private) 100 Golf Links Drive Acworth, GA 30101 (770) 529-9554 Head Pro: Colby Lunsford Director of Instruction: Justin Tackett Greens Fees: N/A

Dogwood Golf Club

Brookstone Golf and Country Club

(Private) 5705 Brookstone Drive Acworth, GA 30101 (770) 425-8500 Head Pro: Mark Avery Greens Fees: N/A City Club Marietta

(Public) 510 Powder Springs Street Marietta, GA 30064 (770) 528-4653 Head Pro: Dan Mullins

(Semi-private) 4207 Flint Hill Road Austell, GA 30106 (770) 941-2202 Head Pro: Ryan Medford Greens Fees: $45 (Monday through Thursday), private on weekends. Twilight rate plans and times vary by season. Please check for website for details. Fox Creek Golf Club & Driving Range

(Public) 1501 Windy Hill Road Smyrna, GA 30080 (770) 435-1000



From 2FF

From 2FF

NCAA will allow, once they arrive on campus this fall. “We want the community to know who its team is,” he said. “We’ll have open fall practices, we’ll have a homecoming and we’ll have a signing day event. It will be a constant flow of opportunities to keep them busy. “It’s branding and self-awareness promotion.” As much of the focus will be on 2015, Williams still has to think of the future. He is currently working on finding opponents to fill schedules through the 2020 season. He also said if there was one thing until now that has been harder than expected, it has been getting potential opponents to sign on the dotted line. “Tracking people down has been difficult,” he said. “Their focus isn’t necessarily our focus where we want to get things done right away.” Williams also said he refuses to fill the schedule just to fill the schedule. He is working on securing a long-term agreement for an annual game against Mercer. He also said the program likely won’t be getting involved in too many Football Bowl Subdivision opponents as the team tries to build a winning foundation.

However, between now and August, Bohannon said there are still many things that have to be done. They will add to the signing class March 22, when the Owls hold a one-day player tryout for anyone interested in walking-on in the fall. It will give Bohannon and his staff the first opportunity since coming to campus to do what they know best — coach. “We’re so excited to get on the field,” Bohannon said. “These guys at the tryout may not know what hit them.” Bohannon said the lack of day-to-day coaching and interaction with players has been the most difficult thing to adjust to during this first year. “The things I’ve missed most are the position meetings, practice and teaching the kids,” Bohannon said. “I love getting kids to do things they didn’t think they could do.” That is why Bohannon will likely coach a position when the team finally takes the field. The last five years as an assistant at Georgia Tech, he coached quarterbacks and B-backs. Bohan- General Manager: Al Morrison Greens Fees: $29 (weekdays), $35 (weekends) Senior, Lady, Student and Junior rates area also offered. Twilight rate plans and times vary by season. Please check website for details. Governor’s Towne Club

(Private) 4200 Governors Towne Drive Acworth, GA 30101 (770) 966-5353 Head Pro: Jon Hough Greens Fees: N/A Indian Hills Country Club

(private) 4001 Clubland Drive Marietta, GA 30068 (770) 971-2605 Dir. of Golf: Lance Cantrell Greens Fees: N/A Legacy Golf Links & Driving Range

(Public) 1825 Windy Hill Road Smyrna, GA 30080 (770) 434-6331 General Manager: Al Morrison Greens Fees: $25 (weekdays), $29 (weekends) Senior, Lady, Student and Junior rates area also offered. Twilight rate

non has also coached wide receivers and defensive backs during his career. Shortly after the tryout, the coaches will return to the road for the spring recruiting period, and then they will turn their full attention to fall practice. “It should be a challenging fall,” Bohannon said. “Not because of having the players just practicing week after week, but to create the vision of what we want to perceive.” To help get the idea of how to create that vision, Bohannon said he has already sought out the advice of Bill Curry, who faced a similar situation in 2009 when Georgia State was building its program. Bohannon also said that he and his assistants visited Charlotte to get ideas from the 49ers’ coaching staff. Charlotte played its inaugural season last fall. “We need to lay a foundation on the field,” Bohannon said. “We need to find out what we have, and what our areas of need are in recruiting.” Considering Kennesaw State is a new program, it was hard to judge what caliber of class the coaches would be able to sign the first year. Now, as they prepare for class No. 2, they are going to have to work hard to meet the fans expectations.

plans and times vary by season. Please check website for details. Marietta Country Club

(Private) 1400 Marietta Country Club Drive Kennesaw, GA 30152 (770) 426-1808 Head Pro: Stephen Keppler Greens Fees: N/A Pinetree Country Club

(private) 3400 McCollum Parkway NW Kennesaw, GA 30144 (770) 422-5902 Head Pro: Rob Williams Greens Fees: N/A DRIVING RANGES Marietta Golf Center

1701 Gresham Road, NE Marietta, GA (770) 977-1997 Bucket of balls - 35 for $5, 55 for $7, 80 for $9, 110 for $11, 135 for $13. Senior pricing also available. Check website for details. Legacy Golf Links

1825 Windy Hill Road, SE Smyrna, GA 30080 (770) 434-6331

They signed the Georgia Sports Writers Association all-classification player of the year in Griffin quarterback Jaquez Parks for starters. By the time Wednesday morning was over, Kennesaw State had signed 14 all-state players, three players from state championship teams and two from state runners-up. Overall, the Owls were able to ink 21 players that were at least nominated for all-state honors. “Does it raise the bar? Yeah,” Bohannon said. “But that’s what we want to be able to do every year.” The first signing class and walk-ons will complete fall practice with an intra-squad game. A second recruiting class of up to 30 players will be signed next February, and at that point, Bohannon said he hopes to supplement the squad with a few transfer players. He also said he has a feeling potential transfers may be local players that may have gone away to college only to realize they would prefer playing closer to home. And once the calendar hits the June 2015, Bohannon said it’s time to play football. “When the summer of 2015 gets here, we get on a regular schedule,” he said. At that point, kickoff is only 2 1/2 months away.

KSU Inaugural Signing Class Pos. Name, School OL/DL Lorenzo Adger, South Paulding DL Joseph Alexander, Tri-Cities DL Auzoyah Alufohai, Alpharetta DL D’Vontae Bedford, McIntosh Co. LB Dez Billingslea, Newton DL McKenzie Billingslea, McEachern RB Jae Bowen, South Paulding WR/DB Cymeon Burden, Eagles Landing ATH Chandler Burks, South Paulding DE Austin Byrd, Calhoun DB Will Cape, North Hall RB Trey Chivers, Carrollton LB Anthony Gore, Jr., Statesboro WR Xavier Harper, Jackson County DB Taylor Henkle, Kell RB Melvin Hill, Washington County DL Luther Jones, Union County QB Jake McKenzie, Monroe Acad. (Ala.) OL Chiaza Nwadike, Charles Drew QB Jaquez Parks, Griffin DL Devin Pughsley, Spain Park (Ala.) ATH Akebren Ralls, Mary Persons WR Justin Sumpter, Sandy Creek OL/DL Brandon Sutton, Callaway OL Corey Thomas, Newton DB Marcus Thurman, Bowdon OL Ryan Warrior, Sandy Creek S/LB Jace White, North Paulding DL Braylon Young, Alcoa (Tenn.)

Ht./Wt. 6-2, 290 6-4, 300 6-3, 310 6-1, 265 6-2, 205 6-4, 240 5-11, 190 6-2, 180 5-10, 175 6-3, 230 5-10, 180 5-11, 197 6-0, 215 6-0, 185 5-11, 185 5-8, 175 6-0, 285 6-0, 190 6-2, 290 6-1, 205 6-1, 235 5-10, 170 6-2, 200 6-0, 250 6-2, 290 5-10, 165 6-3, 260 6-1, 185 5-11, 265







2014 MDJ Progress Edition  
2014 MDJ Progress Edition  

2014 MDJ Progress Edition